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Adair County Iowa


History of Harrison Township

The township with the above name is found among the eastern tier. It is bounded upon the north by Lincoln township, on the east by Madison county, on the south by Grand River township and on the west by Grove township. Harrison comprises a full congressional subdivision, containing about twenty-three thousand and forty acres. It is watered by the Middle river and its branches, which enters the township on section 7, flowing in a diagonal course through sections 18, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 35 and 36, leaving the township on the latter section. More timber of natural growth is found along the borders of Middle river in its course through Harrison, than is found in any other township in the county. The artificial groves of this township are also numerous and well developed. It is one of the best agricultural districts of the county, as will be readily attested by the prosperity of its citizens. Harrison township originally comprised all the territory contained in Lincoln, Grand River and Union.

EARLY SETTLEMENT, The first to seek a home in Harrison township, was William McDonald, who was also one of the first settlers of Adair county. He settled upon section 26,’ in August, 1849, where he erected a small log-cabin 14x16. In the spring of 1850 he removed his family to Harrison. During the same year he raised a small crop of corn, wheat, etc., being the first work toward agriculture accomplished in the township. A sketch of him may be found in the chapter of early settlers of Adair county.

James Roberts, who resides on section 36, is among the earliest and best known settlers of this township. He settled with his family upon the foregoing named section, September 19, 1854. His first dwelling was a small cabin, 16x18, with stick and clay chimney. At that time they were obliged to go below Winterset to get corn ground, and to Indianola, Warren county, for flour. Mr. Roberts is a Kentuckian by birth, being an active old gentleman of seventy-six years, who looks after his farm and attends to all his business affairs. He has been married three times, and has raised a large family of children.

Robert J. Murphy, a son of James and Sarah (Deakins) Murphy, was born in Clay county, Indiana, on the 2d of January, 1837. Removed with his parents to Boone county, Iowa, in 1853, and to Adair county on the 1st of September, 1854. He settled on section 25, in Harrison township, while a resident of that section, was united in marriage with Mrs. Martha (Key) Neese, daughter of William and Nancy Key. He now lives on section 3, of Grand River township.

Zebulon Hollingsworth made a settlement in the fall of 1854, on what is now the Elijah Jones’ place. He came from his native state, Indiana, and after removing from this to Madison county, in 1858, died. In April, 1855, William Thomas settled on section 32. He was born in Madison county, Kentucky, August 3, 1810, and when twelve years of age- the family removed to Monroe county, Indiana, where they resided about five years. After a residence in Putnam and Vigo counties, Indiana, and Boone county, Iowa, he settled on the present homestead in Harrison township. He was first married in October, 1850, to Elizabeth Godwin, of North Carolina, who died April 17, 1877. He was again married to Charlotta Baldwin, a native of New York.

During the summer of 1855, Manning Drake came to the township. He kept a stage station in the eastern part of this subdivision for some time. He was elected to the office of county judge, but on account of some personal preferences, would not qualify. He afterwards disposed of his property and left the county.

Charles Friend made a settlement in this township prior to the fall of 1855. William Stinson also settled about the same time as did Mr. Friend. Samuel W. Pryor, a native of Tennessee, came from Washington county Iowa, and made a settlement in Harrison the 1st of August, 1856, on section 34. A sketch of this gentleman appears in the official chapter of this book, and is omitted in this connection for that reason.

Among the prominent, as well as pioneer, settlers of Harrison township is William McAferty, who resides on section 23. He came from Madison county and settled upon the farm now owned by M. L. Beaman, on section 20, in the year 1857. William McAferty is the son of John and. Letitia (Leach) McAferty, and was born in 1839, in Linn county, Iowa. He moved from there to Madison county in 1855, where he lived for two years, and then came to this county, where he has since resided. He has a farm of two hundred and forty acres, eighty of which is under cultivation, and the other one hundred and sixty is fenced. A fine grove surrounds two acres, and there is also a good orchard. It is a finely located farm, being well adapted for the raising of 1075 grain, all of which is fed on the farm, he being extensively engaged in stock-raising. His father died in California in 1853, and his mother now resides in Greenfield, being the wife of William McDonald. Mr. McAferty is a member of the A. F, and A. M., having become a Mason in Dexter.

One of the pioneer settlers of Harrison is found in the personage of George Wright, who was born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, September 20, 1826. He removed with his parents to Rush county, Indiana, when about three years of age, where they remained until 1835. After a residence in Hancock county, Indiana, Knox county, Illinois, Lee county, Illinois, he came to this township in 1857, and entered land on section 13, where he still resides. In 1851 he was united in marriage to Mary A. Robertson, in Henry county, Illinois, she being the daughter of Larkin and Mary (Cox) Robertson. She has since died. He was married the second time, in 1864, to Mary Lucas, daughter of Solomon and Mary (Roberts) Lucas.

Edward Lee made a settlement on section 34, in the fall of 1859. He is a native of England, coming to this country in 1849. He remained in the state of New York several years, and located in Madison county, Iowa, in 1857, from which place he came to Harrison township, where he still resides. He has been married twice since coming to America, his first wife dying in New York in 1853. He enlisted in Company D, 29th Iowa infantry, in 1862, and was mustered out at Davenport, August 13, 1865.

John B. Rogers is one of the early settlers of Harrison township. He emigrated from his native state, Ohio, in 1860, to Richland county, Illinois, and in the spring of 1861 settled on section 8, this township, where he still resides. He was deputy auditor for one year, after which he engaged in the insurance and land business at Orient and Port Union. At present he owns the store and grist-mill at the latter place. He was married in Adair county to Almira J. Stowell, daughter of W. M. and Miriam W. (Palmer) Stowell. They have two children living— Frank and Mabel.

ORGANIC. The organization of Harrison township occurred in 1856, Charles McDonald being elected the first clerk. The present officers of the township are as follows: James W. Fisher, clerk; A. P. Edick, assessor; George Ford, Edward Lee, Jacob Brown, trustees. The present officers of the school board are: A. Stigers, president; J. M. McCauley, secretary; George Wright, treasurer.

CHARACTERISTIC SETTLEMENT. It has been remarked by some that biographies when published in a work of this kind have a tendency to make the whole matter monotonous and uninteresting, consequently, detracting from the interest which would otherwise attach to such a volume. While this, in a great measure may be true, yet there is no way which will so clearly show the actual character of a settlement. Harrison township has good cause to be proud of her representative people. Among the many deserving of mention, a few are therefore appended.

J. M. Head resides on section 10, of this township. He is the son of Thomas and Mary (Fallman) Head, and was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, in October, 1838. He came with his parents to Shelby county, Illinois, 1842, and in 1870 came to Stuart, Iowa. His father died in 1856, and after coming to Iowa, his mother’s death occurred in 1875. In February, 1881, he came to his present location, and has one hundred and sixty acres of land in a fine state of cultivation. He was married in Illinois, November 9, 1871, to to Ella Ide, daughter of Jesse and Roxanna (Nye) Ide, and six children were born to them— Merritte, Blanche, Eva, Mabel, Edith and Elsie. Has a fine grove of trees about his residence, and a bearing orchard of about two acres. He is a member of the I. 0. 0. F. lodge at Stuart, his first membership with that order dating back as far as 1878.

George Ford was born in New Jersey, near Trenton, April 29, 1838. He was the son of George and Phoebe (Hutchinson) Ford, natives of New Jersey. In the fall of 1838 he removed with his parents to Columbiana county, Ohio, and from there to Cedar county, Iowa, in 1852. In 1875 he came to this township, settling on section 8, where he still resides upon a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, all under cultivation. On the 22d day of October, 1863, he was first married to Lavina Wilkes, and they had three children, one of whom is dead. Emma and Phoebe L. are the names of the two living. His second marriage occurred in Cedar county, Mary E. Buzzell, daughter of Gilman and Eliza (Watson) Buzzell, being his bride. By this union they have six children — Willie G., Lavina M., Grace E., George G., Harry G. and Glenn L. He raises considerable stock of a good grade, and has a nice residence surrounded by a grove of about two acres, besides other good and substantial out-buildings. He also has an orchard of one hundred and sixty fine trees. He is a member of the Christian church.

Wm. M. Stowell, a mechanic by trade, and son of Lucius and Sarah (Ketchum) Stowell, was born January 3, 1825, in the town of Virgil, Oourtland county, New York; was married to Marian W. Palmer, daughter of Ebenezer and Polly M. Palmer, of the same place, September 25, 1849; was born to them there three sons— Henry D. M., Herman D. V. and Herbert M.; one daughter, Ida V. April 24, 1857, removed to Crestline, Crawford county, Ohio; born to them there, Almina J. and William Sherman; was a member of the Advent church, October 30, 1861; enlisted at Mansfield in the 64th Ohio volunteers as member of cornet band; broke camp December 17 and went aboard train for Cincinnati; 18th, went to Louisville, Kentucky, on the boat Jacob Strader; 19th, went into camp one mile south of the city, here being organized into brigade of three regiments—64th and 65th Ohio, and 51st Indiana, Col. Harker commanding; December 26, received marching orders, being attached to the Army of the Tennessee, under General Buel, marching through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, and counter-marched back to Kentucky; was with the army in several engagements such as Shiloh, Corinth, lynca, etc. Received discharge papers at Nashville, Tennessee, September 9, 1862. He was paid off at Louisville, Kentucky; discharged by reason of General Buel’s general order. No. 44, August 13, 1862, requesting all bands mustered out of service. He then continued with the army in the capacity of sutler until February 10, 1864, and was with them at the battles of Stone river, Tullahoma and Chattanooga. He returned home to his family, in Ohio, February 12, 1864. On October 13, 1867, he removed to Harrison township, Adair county, Iowa, and located on his present farm, of two hundred acres, in northwest quarter of section 21, range 76—30. He traveled quite extensively through the United States in 1875 and 1876, and visited California, Oregon, Washington Territory and British Columbia, since which time he has been occupied on the farm. He has held offices of township trustee, school director, president of the board and road supervisor district No. 5.

Elijah Jones is a native of Holmes county, Ohio, being born September 16, 1831. He is the son of William and Rebecca (Skeeles) Jones, who both died in Ohio. In March, 1870, he emigrated to Iowa, settling in Harrison township, on section 5. He was united in marriage in October, 1857, in Ohio, to Elizabeth Lenocker, daughter of David and Susan (Dubi) Lenocker, natives of Ohio, who are both dead at present. They have seven children living—Byron W., Milton D., Villa P., Ella M., John H., Alma M. and Gertrude J. He is justice of the peace, having served in that capacity for six years. He has six hundred and thirty acres of land, one hundred and sixty of which is in section 5, and the balance in sections 8, 6, 18 and 30. He raises some fine stock, having a thoroughbred animal, imported from England, at the head of his herd of cattle, and hogs of the Poland- China grade. He also makes a specialty of raising bees, having a large number of stands. His residence is one of the finest in the township, being in a fine location, and commanding a beautiful view of the surrounding country. There are also three other houses upon the farm. There is a bearing orchard of about four acres, besides four or five acres of grove and shade trees about the place.

Martin L. Beaman, son of Abraham and Elizabeth (Murphy) Beaman, natives of North Carolina, was born in Putnam county, Indiana, October 17, 1843. In the fall of 1865 he came to Adair county, and in 1879 located on his present farm. During the period from 1866 to 1869 he was engaged in the manufacture of shingles, cutting seven thousand per day. He was married in Madison county, June 12, 1879, to Ida V. Stowell. They have two children—Alma and Vernon. He has a farm of three hundred and three acres (two hundred and ninety improved), and deals quite extensively in shorthorn cattle and Poland-China hogs. At present he has forty-seven head of cattle, with a thoroughbred animal at the head of the herd. He also has a fine French Canadian stallion. He has been assessor for four years. John M. McCauley, the son of William and Sarah (Douglas) McCauley, was born in Richland county, Ohio, August 15, 1826. In 1850 he moved from there to Cedar county, Iowa. In 1852 he went across the plains to Oregon, where he remained three years, and in the latter part of 1854 came back as far as Colorado, making part of the return trip by ocean. In 1856 he returned to Cedar county, Iowa, and in February, 1869, He moved from there to Adair county, where he purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 1, in Harrison township. He was married in Cedar county, August 14, 1858, to Miss Phoebe Tread well, daughter of Mulford and Julia A. (Metscan) Treadwell. They have six children—Charley U., Sallie, Anna, William M., Ruth and Capitola B. He is a farmer and stock-raiser, having one hundred and thirty head of Poland-China hogs. Has a good grade of cattle, with a thoroughbred shorthorn at the head of the herd. The farm is conveniently located near several towns, and contains a bearing orchard of one hundred and forty trees. Mr. McCauley has been school director, and is at present secretary of the school board. He is also a member of Mt. Tabor Lodge, A. F. and A. M. of Dexter, and has an apron with the emblems of the order on it, which is very fine. He joined this order in 1854, while in Jacksonville, Oregon.

Levi Watts was born in Holmes county, Ohio, on the 20th of October, 1845, his parents being John and Elizabeth (Gardener) Watts. From there he came to Harrison township, in 1876, where he settled on section 7, having purchased a farm of two hundred and forty-seven acres, all of which is under cultivation. He has a five acre bearing orchard and a nice grove the same size. There is a good stream of water running through the farm and which makes it a desirable place for the raising of stock. He has a good herd of graded shorthorns with a seven eighth shorthorn at the head of the herd ; he also raises Poland-China hogs. He was married in Ohio to Miss Sarah B. Owen, daughter of Thomas and Martha Owen, on the 26th day of February, 1871. Seven children have blessed this marriage, whose names are—Martha E., John 0., Coral G., Edith M., Maud, Eva and Laura. Mr. Watts has been road superintendent for five years. He is a member of Mt. Zion Christian church.

PORT UNION POST-OFFICE. A post-office was established in 1857, in Harrison township, on section 34, with Daniel A. Pooram, postmaster, and was called Arbor Hill. About a year afterward he left the township, and Samuel W. Pryor received an appointment to the office by President James Buchanan, who held the same until 1868. The highest salary received either of these years was $28, and the smallest, $4 per annum. The office was on the Winterset and Greenfield route, but was afterward removed to Port Union, its present location. Dissatisfaction resulted from the change, it being somewhat out of the way, and the carrier refused to take the mail to the office. A petition was immediately circulated, which resulted in a daily mail from Stuart to Greenfield. The credit of this belongs to the postmasters of Port Union and Greenfield, and John A. Kasson. The office is a good one and much better arranged than many found in more populated places.

GENERAL STORES. A store was opened at Port Union, in January, 1883, by Fisher Brothers, who carry a general stock. The post-office is in this building, with J. W. Fisher, postmaster. He received his commission, February 16, 1883. There is also another general store at this point, owned and operated by J. B. Rodgers. January 14, 1883, James W. Fisher, son of John and Arabella (Fisher) Fisher, located at Port Union, Harrison township, engaging in the mercantile business. He was born in Montgomery county, West Virginia, February 19, 1885, and when four years of age went with his parents to Mercer county, where they remained about three years. They then removed to Giles county, and in 1865 returned to Mercer county. In 1868 they emigrated to Iowa, locating in Cedar county, where he was employed as a farm hand, after which they removed to Durant. Here he attended school until 1878, after which he taught school for five years in Scott county. He was married near Durant, in Scott county, March 11, 1880, to Ida Bry, daughter of Captain Randolph and Theresa (Johnson) Bry, Rev. R. H. Ingram officiating. He is postmaster at Port Union, receiving his commission February 16, 1883. He is also township clerk. John H. Fisher came to Harrison and located at Port Union, January 14, 1883, and engaged in the mercantile business with his brother James. He was born in Mercer county, West Virginia, February 4, 1862. In 1863 he removed with his parents to Iowa, settling in Cedar county. After a year’s residence in Oeclar county he came to Port Union, as heretofore stated. His father died in 1862 at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois. At present his mother resides at Durant, Iowa.

BLACKSMITHING. A blacksmith shop is located at this place. It is owned by Steward Fisher, of Greenfield, and operated by Henry Guttner, recently from Germany. WAGON SHOP. Gottlieb Bornmaun, a German, has a wagon shop at Port Union. He does a good business, principally at repairing.

PORT UNION MILLS, The first mill iu the township was erected in 1870, on section 20, by Beaman & Thomas, residents of Harrison. They died before it was completed, there being only an elapse of about a week between the death of each. It was then disposed of at administrator’s sale to Parrish & Headley, who completed it in 1872 and continued to operate it about a year and a half, at the expiration of which time the former purchased the latter’s interest and operated it two years longer. The Beaman heirs then purchased the mill, but retained it only about nine months, when they disposed of it to F. H. Parrish. On November 10, 1883, it was sold at referee’s sale to Thomas Salisbury, and January 18, 1884, he disposed of it to J. B. Rodgers, the present owner. The mill has a capacity of about 500 pounds of flour per hour, but seldom exceeds 300 pounds. It is furnished with all the necessary modern milling apparatus. It also contains a burr for grinding feed.

EDUCATIONAL. The first school taught in Harrison township was in 1857, in a building erected for a storehouse on section 34. The first school house was erected in 1860 on section 34. It was 18x20 and cost $300. The first teacher was employed by the trustees of the township and was a person by the name of Carr. Samuel W. Pryor was the first director, being elected in 1859 or 1860. There was no county superintendent at that time. School district No. 1 comprises sections 1, 2, 11 and 12. The school-house of this district is located on the southeast corner of section 2. Jacob Brown is the present director of this district. Hattie Shober taught the last term of school during the summer of 1884. School district No. 2 includes sections 3, 4, 9 and 10, and has a school-house on the southwest corner of section 3. The building was erected in 1876 at a cost of $700 and is 24x36 feet in size. The last teacher in this school was Sally McCauley. Albert Stigers is the present director. School district No. 3 embraces sections 5, 6, 7 and 8. The school-house of this district is situated on the northeast corner of section 7. Villa Jones is the present teacher of this school. The school building is 26x26 in size, and cost $820. To Sally Myers belongs the honor of being first teacher in this district. Levi Watts is the director at present. School district No. 4, embracing sections 17, 18,19 and 20, has a school-house located in the center of the district, erected in 1878. The first house in this district, however, was built in August, 1872, at which time Frank Sackett was director. The first teacher in this district was Cornelius Smith. Minnie Skiles taught the last term, during the summer of 1884. A man by the name of Miller is the present director. School district No. 5 embraces the four central sections of Harrison township— 15, 16, 21 and 22. The school-house is situated on the southeast corner of section 16, and was erected in 1873. It is a large, two-story building, 24x36, and cost $1,500. Emma Rush taught the last term of school in this district, during the summer of 1884. School district No. 6, comprised of sections 13, 14, 23 and 24, has a school building situated on the northwest corner of section 23. The first director of this district was George Wright, who still holds that position. The first term of school was taught by Leonard Beard in 1873. The last term was taught by William F. Graham during the summer of 1884. The school-house in this district was first erected in 1869. School district No. 7 has a school-house situated upon the southeast corner of section 26. The first school in this district— composed of sections 25, 26, 35, 36 —was taught in the fall of 1857 by Shields. The building was erected during this year at a cost of $1,000, and was 24x36 in size. The first director of the district was William McDonald. William Beaman is the present director. School district No. 8 includes sections 27, 28, 33 and 34. The first school-house of this district was erected in 1860, with Maggie Ralston as first teacher. The present building stands on the southeast corner of section 28. Lizzie Rush was the teacher during the summer term of 1884. The present director is B. Fleming. School district No. 9 has a school-house on the southwest corner of section 29, erected during the year of 1876. Prior to its erection, the school-house formerly used in this district was destroyed by fire. Hannah Calkins taught the last term of school in this district. John Orr is the present director.

HISTORIC. The first child born in Harrison township was a daughter to John and Sarah J. (McDonald) Stinson, and was christened Mary J, The first death occurred in 1850, being a child of William McDonald. It was buried in the Roberts cemetery. William Stinson and Crow were the first couple married in the township. William McDonald broke the first ground in the spring of 1850, and planted the first corn, being seven acres in the sod. The year following he sowed the first wheat in the township. The first religious services were held in 1855, by the Christian church, at the houses of James Roberts and William McDonald, with Rev. Adam Kellison as preacher. The first mill was built in 1870, on section 20, on Middle river. The first store opened in the township was on section 26, about the year 1870, but is closed at present. Mt. Zion Church, of Harrison township, is situated on section 9. It is the Christian denomination of the New Light order, which was the first religious society organized in the township, the organization dating back to 1855. At that time they had no church edifice, and services were held at the residence of different members of thj organization throughout the township. The present building was erected in the summer of 1881, at a cost of about one thousand seven hundred dollars. Rev. J. B. McGinnis was the first pastor after the new church was built. Rev. A. Bradfield, of Winterset, is the present pastor.

CEMETERY. The cemetery in connection with Mt. Zion church, was laid out in February, 1876. The first interment was that of the body of Joshua Jones, a brother of Elijah Jones of this township. The deceased came from Holmes county, Ohio, and was a resident of Harrison just one year at the time of his demise February 6, 1876.

CHURCHES. The Cumberland Presbyterian church, of Harrison township, have had an organization for some time, their first membership numbering six. They have no church edifice as yet, but hold services at the school-house in district No. 8. The first pastor of this church was Rev. James Mumford, of Kansas. Rev. Samuel Anderson, of Panora, is the present pastor.

Taken from "History of Guthrie and Adair County Iowa, 1884", transcribed by Carlyss Noland

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