Boone Township History
This township is situated in the southeast corner of Dallas county, and is known in the government surveys as congressional township 78, range 26, west of the fifth principal meridian.
It has passed through numerous changes in its boundary lines since it was first called Boone, as it was one of the first three electoral precincts formed in the county, as early as 1849, and then received its present name. By the general division of the county into precincts, March 5, 1850, Boone precinct was made to include all of its present territory, except a one mile strip along its north side, and also included about half the present territory of Van Meter. (See previous order, March 5, 1850.)
In the general division of the county into townships, February 2, 1857, Boone township was made to include all its present territory and one-half of Van Meter, as shown by the following order of the county court, recorded under the above date:
Ordered By the court, that the district of country included in the following limits shall form, and constitute, the township of Boone, to-wit: Commencing- at the northeast corner of township No, seventy-eight (78), north range twenty-six (26); thence west to the section line dividing sections three (3) and four (4), in township No. seventy-eight (78), north range twenty-seven (27); thence south on said line to the south line of Dallas county; thence east on the county line of said county to the southeast corner of the county aforesaid; thence north to the place of beginning.
There seems to have been no important changes after this in the boundaries of Boone township until in January, 1869. when Van Meter township was organized in its present form, leaving Boone bounded, as it now is, by the congressional township lines.
The main Raccoon river enters the east side of Boone township in the north part of section 30, then bends abruptly to the south and flows in that direction for about a mile when it turns again to the east and flows in a winding course within about a mile of the south line of the county and township, until it passes out at the east side of the township on section 25, and flows on to the Des Moines through Polk county.
Sugar Creek extends diagonally from near the northwest corner of the township toward the southeast until it empties into the Raccoon on section 26, and Johnson creek about two miles southwest of it, and nearly parallel with it, flows in the same general direction until it empties into the same river to the west. These three streams give the township excellent water and drainage privileges, as also an abundance of wood, building material, coal and mill sites. There is considerable timber and rolling land in Boone township, as also excellent river bottom land; and a large portion of the northeast half of the township is admirable prairie land. There is evidently plenty of coal, also, along these streams and bluff lands, but no important mines have yet been opened, as so many are being worked in other localities not far distant, and with the conveniences the railroad affords of shipping, especially with the extensive Van Meter coal mine so near, it has not been necessary or profitable to open or work mines in Boone to any great extent.
When the demand from abroad increases sufficiently to warrant the necessary expenditure, no doubt Boone will be able to find plenty of coal as convenient and of as good quality as is now found in the neighboring localities along the river, and the work of extensive mining will then be commenced in earnest. Building material of almost all kinds is very plentiful also in the township. Plenty of good stone for building purposes, as also for lime manufactory, is found within the limits of the township.
It is throughout that locality that the greatest quantities of those "lost rocks" or limestone boulders have been found. They are becoming less numerous now, as so many of them have been used on account of the superior quality of lime they produce. But when these all fail there will be an almost unfailing supply found in the limestone quarries along the streams.
The C., R. I. & P. R. R. passes east and west through the township, just north of the river, crossing the latter at its southern bend, just west of the town of Booneville.
This railroad gives the entire township excellent market privileges, and gives it one town, BooneviIle, within its limits. (See sketch of Boonville.) Booneville is also its only post-office.
Boone township was also among the earliest settlements in the county, and in giving the separate township histories it should be borne in mind that for many years, and in fact until January, 1869, Boone township also included the east half of Van Meter, and, therefore, many of the early incidents which now properly come under the history of Van Meter township really occurred in what was then Boone. On this account it is difficult to separate between the two and give the early particulars of each, and must, therefore, give much of the early histories of both in one. The first settler on the present territory of Boone township was John Wright, some time in 1846, on section 22. He had previously settled across the line, in what is now Van Meter township, early that spring, not far from Levi Wright's present home, and built the third log cabin erected in Van Meter; but as Levi Wright informs us, John did not remain on his first claim long until he moved off by himself into better hunting fields, and settled, as above stated, on section 22, within the present limits of Boone township, and thus became the first settler of that township as well as nearly the first in the other. Soon after he moved over, "Deaf Jim" Wright, his cousin, also went over and made his home principally with John for some time, but still kept his land in Van Meter, adjoining Levi.
Greenbury Coffin also settled in Boone township about the same time as John Wright, or not long afterward, and near by him, on section 27, they being brothers-in-law.
In 1847 William D. Boone, George Gresham, J. O. Goodson and John Johnson also settled in Boone township, and soon afterward others came in and formed quite a flourishing community. William D. Boone died in 1855.
J. C. Goodson still lives on his old homestead, owning a large tract of some 300 acres of land. He first came to this county prospecting in 1846, but did not move and settle here with his family until 1847, and to him we are indebted for many important items regarding the township history.
The first school in the township was taught by his wife, Priscilla Goodson, at an early day.
The first marriage in Boone township was the same as that in Van Meter, George Haworth and Mary Stump, Sept. 2, 1847, in Henry Stump's new hewed-log house. This is also claimed as the first marriage in Van Meter township, as it occurred in the present limits of Van Meter, and both parties Jived west of the congressional township line, though it was at that time Boone township.
They were married by J. C. Corbell, Esq. this being also the first marriage in the county. (See account.)
The same is true also of the first death in these townships, that of old Mr. Coffin, in the winter of 1846-7, being also the first in the county. (See account.)
The first cabins were built by John Wright and Greenbury Coffin, in 1846.
The first sermon was preached in the township by a colored minister, now living in Des Moines, Rev. Ezra Rathburn, at the house of John Wright. This occurred soon after the settlement was made.
The first circuit preacher who preached in the township was J. Q. Hammond who organized the first church in the township. It was a Methodist Episcopal Church, and some of the original members were J. C. Goodson and his wife, Priscilla Goodson, George Gresham and his wife, Nancy Gresham, Susanna Boone, and Sarah Lane.
This is the only church now in the township, and is called the "Fairview Church," named by J. C. Goodson. The building is located a little south of the center of the township, and is the first and only church building in the township.
Some of the ministers on this circuit who have ministered to it are as follows: Reverends J. Q. Hammond, Ockerman, Robert Haun, M, H. Hare, George Clark, Thomas Dixon, Donahue, Fleming, Murphy, Sexton, Barton, LaMonte, and E. P. Vail, the present pastor, living now at Waukee, where he a18o preaches, uniting the two churches as one charge. (See sketch of church at Waukee.)
This township has one good iron bridge spanning the main Raccoon river, near Booneville, also a line railroad bridge a short distance above it, across the same stream, besides other bridges of minor importance over the smaller streams in different places. There is also one good steam mill in the township at Booneville.
There are many large and well improved farms in the township, which are kept in fine repair by the owners, and stock-raising is followed extensively. This township displays some of the best blooded stock in the county, and has, perhaps, as many extensive stock-raisers and dealers as any other locality in the county. It also has some extensive and valuable orchards, and generally shows thrift. and prosperity in like manner with its adjoining neighbor, Van Meter.
The Des Moines & Fort Dodge Railroad passes through the northeast corner of the township, cutting off a three-cornered piece containing about two sections.
Boone township has a desirable location, as well as a stable and thrifty class of citizens, and on account of being situated so near Des Moines, as well as because of its natural advantages and advanced improvements the land is generally valuable and readily salable.
The township now has nine school-houses, and as many sub-districts.
The township officers elected at the last election were as follows: Township Clerk-Simpson Flinn; Assessor-S. S. Parkes; Trustees-Jameson, A. Nish, Jasper Goodson; Justice-J. M. Flinn; Constable-Austin Flinn.
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