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History of Fayette County, Iowa,

A history of the County, its Cities, Towns Etc.

Page 537

Eden Township

"Active settlement in this township commenced in 1852. The first settler in the township is said to have been a bachelor named James Austin, who probably built a cabin on Section 11, in 1849, but sold his claim to Baldwin Kirkpatrick at an early day.

The first birth in the township was that of Mary Johnson, in 1851; and the first marriage, in February, 1852, was that of Miles Lewis and Mary Finch.
In 1852, the township was organized with a voting population of 9. The name Eden was bestowed upon it, probably, from the resemblance it was supposed by the old settlers to bear to the ancient paradise on the Euphrates.

Prior to the date of its organization, Eden was a part of Auburn Township. The first school taught in the township was in the Spring of 1854, by Hannah Tiff, in a private house. Later in that year, a log school house was built on Section 24, and the first teacher therein was Miss Murray.

It is supposed that the first religious services were held by Rev. S. D. Helms, in the houses of settlers, previous to the building of any school house or houses of a public nature.

A Catholic church was built near the northern line in 1857, and was probably dedicated by Bishop Loras, of Dubuque, who at that time held deeds to several tracts of land in the township.

In 1866 or 1867, Aaron Martin, while threshing for Mr. Wade, was caught in the gearing while the machine was in motion. He was whirled round and his back broken, from the effects of which he died in about two weeks.

A son of James Murphy was drowned just below the mill at Waucoma, about 1868.

The South Branch of the Turkey River flows through the township in a southeasterly direction, and Crane Creek touches some part of in the south. There is a moderate supply of timber along these streams, though it is not heavy in many places.


The land on which this town is located was entered by J. P. Webster, in 1854. The town was laid out by Webster.

The first house on the town plat was built by Baldwin Kirkpatrick, in 1855; is still standing and is called the Empire House. The oldest settlers now living in the village are Mr. and Mrs. J. Southerland, who came in 1855. The first child born in the town was Milo Kirkpatrick. In 1855, Ed. Page and Phebe Whetstone were married.

Waucoma is the principal village in this township. It is situated on the west bank of the Little Turkey, and has a most beautiful location. The vicinity is a level prairie, diversified with groves. The bluffs of the Turkey disappear some distance below this place. This village has a good flouring-mill, several stores and mechanics' shops, and contains two or three hundred inhabitants. The stream is spanned by a graceful iron bridge above the mill-dam.

The grade of the Davenport & Northwestern Railway passes through the town, and when the iron is laid Waucoma will become a town of considerable importance.

Its Churches and Societies

The Congregational Church was organized in 1874, and held its meetings in the school house. The first Pastor was Rev. A. V. House. In the Winter of 1875-6, the society built a church, 32x44, at a cost of $2,500, which was dedicated January 6, 1876, by Rev. E. Adams. The Deacons were Alexander Clyde and William Murray. The Sunday school is a Union Sunday School, under charge of E. B. Stillman.

United Brethren - In 1874, Rev. Mr. Drury and son held revival meetings in Waucoma; and, as the result, a society was organized, being supplied every two weeks by Rev. Mr. Drury, of West Union. At present, they are holding meetings in the Congregational Church, through the kindness of the Congregational Society.

The Methodists have no organized society; but at one time held services, conducted by Rev. Mr. Richardson.


Waucoma Lodge, No. 303, I. O. of O. F., was organized January 14, 1875, by D. D. G. M. Davis, with the following charter members: A. A. Boylan, J. P. Webster, Elisha Fitch, D. G. West, S. H. Stein, D. P. Moody. The following are the officers first elected; J. P. Webster, N. G.; A. A. Boylan, V. G.; S. H. Stein, S.; D. P. Moody, T.

Standard Lodge, No. 351, A., F. & A. M., was instituted in 1875, with the following acting as officers, under the dispensation: A. P. Fowler, W. M.; W. E. Bender, S. W.; Linus Fox, J. W.; James Miller, Treas.; Henry Felker, Sec.; R. Patterson, S. D.; William Mill, J. D.; John Lawrence, Tiler. The remaining charter members were O. B. Dodd and Voltaire Johnson. The Lodge was chartered in June, 1876, and duly constituted.

This organization has grown quite rapidly, the following having become members so far: J. M. Burnside, H. Anderson, J. C. McFarland, G. C. Luce, George Bell, Thomas Cochrane, Myron Chase, Frank Johnson, Scott Brown, Stephen Brown, C. C. Dykens.


This little hamlet is situated on Section 24, three miles southeast of Waucoma. A saw-mill was built here by Mr. Stone, in 1856. The Patrons of Husbandry have a general store at this place, managed by a joint stock company.

This village has not met the expectations of its founders, for it has not gained in population or business since 1857.


This is another little village, located on Section 32, and also known as Johnson's Mill. The mill is located on the north bank of Crane Creek, and was built in 1869. The patent-middlings process is used in this mill. The other business at alpha includes a general store and a blacksmith shop.

The old bridge across the creek is soon to be replaced by a new structure, abutments for which are now being laid.

There is a Union Sabbath School at Alpha. A. M. Barber, Superintendent.


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