Sugar Grove Township History
Excerpt from The History of Dallas County, Iowa, published in 1879 by the Union Historical Company of Des Moines, Iowa
This township occupies the second place from the north and east in the township tiers, and is therefore the northeast one of the four central townships of Dallas county. It is known in the government surveys as congressional township 80, north of range 27, west of the fifth principal meridian.
For a long time the boundary lines of Sugar Grove were in, a very unsettled state, and it has passed through a great many changes since its first organization as a township. When the county was divided into precincts in March, 1850, the present territory of Sugar Grove was divided up and formed parts of Buena Vista and Des Moines precincts. The first record we find of a township being organized by this name, is the following one, making it to include its present territory and that of Beaver, date of September 2, 1851:
Ordered, That hereafter the territory included in the following metes and bounds, commencing at the northeast corner of township No. 81, north of range 27, west; thence south to the southeast corner of township No. 80, north of range 27, west; thence due west six miles; thence due north twelve miles; thence east six miles to the place of beginning, shall constitute an election township, to be called Sugar Grove township.
The first election to be held at the house of James V. Pierce, in said township.
Under date of March 3, 1856, also, appears the following order changing the boundary lines of Sugar Grove township:
Ordered, That hereafter the following shall be the metes and bounds of Sugar Grove township, to-wit: Commencing at the southeast corner of section thirty-six (36), township eighty (80), north of range twenty-seven (27); thence north six miles; thence west twelve miles; thence south six miles to the southwest corner of section thirty-one (31), township eighty, (80) north range twenty-eight (28); thence east to the place of beginning.
And again, date of June 2, 1856, appears the following:
Hereafter the boundaries of Sugar Grove township shall be as follows: Commencing at the southeast corner of section 36, township 80, range 27; thence north to the northeast corner of section 36, township 81, range 27; thence west three miles; thence north two miles; thence west to range line dividing ranges 28 and 27; thence south on said range line to the southwest corner of section 21, township 81, range 27; thence west six miles; thence south six miles; thence east twelve miles to the place of beginning".
In the general division of the county into townships, February 2, 1857, Sugar Grove was reduced in size and again made to include its present territory and the present territory of Washington township-congressional township No. 80, north of ranges 27 and 28, west. March 2, 1858, Washington township was cut off, and again in January, 1859, the boundaries of Sugar Grove were changed, making it to include part of the present territory of Beaver, as shown by the following:
Ordered, By the court that the district of country included in the following limits shall form and constitute the township of Sugar Grove, to-wit: Commencing at the northwest corner of section nineteen (19), in township eighty-one (81), range twenty-seven (27); thence south to the southwest corner of section thirty-one (31), township eighty-one (81), range twenty-seven (27); thence west to the middle of the channel of North 'Coon river; thence south along the channel of said river to where the township line dividing townships seventy-nine (79) and eighty (80) crosses said river; thence east on said line to the southeast corner of township eighty (80), range twenty-seven (27); thence north to the northeast corner of section thirty-six (36), township eighty-one (81), range twenty-seven (27); thence west to the northwest corner of section thirty-four (34), township eighty-one (81), range twenty-seven (27); thence north to the northeast corner of section twenty-one (21), township eighty-one (81), range twenty-seven (27); thence west to the place of beginning.
This change of line cut off all the southeast part of Beaver township left out of Des Moines, and added it to Sugar Grove township, thus destroying Beaver township altogether, as organized, February 2, 1857.
In June, 1861, Beaver township was again organized, cutting off some territory from Sugar Grove, and the latter, after passing through various minor chal1ges in its boundary lines, was finally settled in its present form, June 7, 1870, as shown by the following order of the board of supervisors:
Ordered, That all the territory included within congressional township No. eighty (80), north of range No. twenty-seven (27), west of the 5th P. M., Iowa, shall constitute the township of Sugar Grove.
No record appears of any important change occurring in its boundaries since that date.
Judge L. D. Burns has kindly furnished us with the following sketch of the first settlement of his township, which we quote as follows:
"L. D. Burns, Harvey Adams and Zabina Babcock were the first settlers. They took claims here simultaneously in 1847. In the spring of 1848 came Adam Vineage, James V. Pierce, James McLain and John Sullivan, Jr., and their families. Dutch Henry, a bachelor, settled here the same year. In 1849 came Wil1iam Boyd, wife, sons and daughters. The sons were Samuel and James; the daughters married were Jane Taylor and Nancy Boyles, and their husbands; the daughter unmarried was Catharine, who afterward married Al1en Boyles. S. O. Taylor and family, Hayes Boyles, Isaac Bal1ard and Milton Randolph closed the immigration for that year.
"In 1850 came Wm. Groves and Wm, Cartwright and their families, Rachael and Louisa Sutton, unmarried sisters of Mrs. Groves, Wm. Boyles and Allen Boyles.
"The first school was taught by Slemmons C. Taylor, for which he was paid twenty dollars for a term of three months. It was a subscription school.
"The township is an independent school district, and has nine schoolhouses, Minburn has an additional house to accommodate its pupils, making, in all, ten school-houses in the township.
"The first religious services were held at the house of Wm, Boyd, on the evening of the 22d day of April, 1851, sermon by Rev. Hare, of the M. E. Church; text, Acts, 10th chapter and 43d verse. It was a practical, well timed effort. Those in attendance were, besides the immediate family of Wm. Boyd, Samuel Taylor and wife, Taylor Boyles and wife, Harvey Adams and wife and children, Geo. P. Garoutte and wife, Adam Vineage, a Mr. Wilson (a peddler), James V. Pierce, Wm. Groves and wife, L. D. Burns and wife, and the two Misses Sutton."
The church organizations and buildings within the bounds of Sugar Grove township are all at Minburn (see sketches), and this is the only town in its limits.
Dallas Center is just across the south line, in Adel township, and is about as convenient as though situated in its own bounds, affording good market and mail privileges; and though Minburn is the only post-office in Sugar Grove, yet it has the use and convenience of two, the southern portion generally going to Dallas Center.
The Des Moines & Fort Dodge R. R. passes through the township diagonal1y, entering near the southwest corner of section 35, and passing out near the northwest corner of section 6, thus affording the township splendid opportunities for shipping.
The North Raccoon river passes through the southwest corner of the township, cutting off a very small portion of section 31, and Slough creek rises about section 26, and flows northward, passing out of the township on section 3, thus watering and draining the northeast portion of the township.
The North Raccoon river, in and adjoining the west side, affords plenty of timber and building material for the township, at a very convenient distance to an parts.
In the southwest corner of the township the Sugar Grove flouring mill is situated, on the east bank of the Raccoon river, owned by John H. Warrington, and does a thriving business.
The old mill on this site was built some thirty years ago by Mr. Rinehart, while the present one was built in 1872-3, J. N. Southgate, of Des ,Moines, being the millwright. It has two run of stone, one three and a half foot wheat burr and one corn burr; will average about six bushels per hour in wheat grinding. The dam has about seven feet of head. Just below the mill site, in the North Raccoon, is where the old fish trap was located which supplied all that section with fresh fish in early days, as before mentioned.
There is one good county bridge on or near the township line called the Garoutte bridge, which may be claimed either by Sugar Grove or Adel township, and aside from this bridge Sugar Grove has no bridges of any importance.
This township is becoming quite well advanced in general improvements, especially in the southwestern portion, where numerous fine farms and orchards are found. In the northeast portion some prairie still remains uncultivated, but the per cent of such in the township is becoming rather small.
The first election in the township was, perhaps, the one held at the house of James V. Pierce, in the fall of 1851.
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