Hardin County - Pleasant Township

The Past and Present of Hardin County Iowa
ed. by William J. Moir.  Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1911

Transcribed by Linda Suarez

Pleasant is one of the southeastern townships in Hardin county, being bounded on the north by Jackson, on the east by Eldora, on the south by Providence and on the west by Tipton townships. The South Fork of the Iowa river flows from the northwestern part to the southeastern part of this township. It comprises all of congressional township No. 87, range 20, thus containing thirty-six sections of land.

Topographical Features

This is a high and rolling prairie township, containing also condiserable fine bottom land, rich and very productive in its composition of soil. The streams are the South Fork, the Beaver creek, the Little Beaver creek, with numerous smaller streams not named on the maps of the county. At an early day much good timber of various varieties was found growing along the streams of the township.


Pleasant township was organized in 1854, under County Judge Alexander Smith. It then comprised the west half of the present townships of Tipton and Sherman. In 1859 Tipton was organized from this original territory.

First Events

Some of the known facts about the first happenings in this township are as follows:

The first marriage in the township was that uniting Peter Miller and Laura Duke, in the spring of 1853.

The first birth was that of a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Miller, in the autumn of 1852.

The first death was that of the passing of Martha E., daughter of Isaac S. and Mary A. Moore, who died October 4, 1853.

The first school was taught in the winter of 1853-54, in a log cabin erected by Jesse Waggle, on section 28. Isaac S. Moore was the first teacher in the school.

The first election was held at the home of James Miller, in April, 1854.

The first physician in the township was Dr. D. C. Atwater, who located in the township in 1862.

Pioneer Settlement

The first attempt at settling this goodly portion of Hardin county was during the fall of 1851, by Isaac S. Moore, who located on section 21. After a short residence there, he removed to Tipton township, where he come to be county officer and an important factor in the politics of the county. He was born in Highland county, Ohio, 1819. His father was twice a representative to the Ohio State Legislature. In 1861 he enlisted in the Sixth Iowa Infantry, being a member of Company C. He was discharged for physical disability. Mr. Moore was active and aggressive in the county-seat contest and law suits growing out of the question. He represented and headed the faction from Pleasant township that insisted on the seat of justice being located there. After a long and bitter contest in the courts, the supreme court decided against them, in favor of Eldora.

James and Frank miller and Cavender Deere each took claims in Pleasant township prior to Mr. Moore, and James Moore broke the first land here in 1851, on section 28. The Millers were from Kentucky. They were stanch, uncompromising Democrats. James died in 1856 and his brother Frank a few months afterwards.

Peter Miller was a son of James Miller and came with his father. He was married in 1853 to Laura Duke.

Cavender Deere was a Virginian by birth, and after a time moved to Marshall county, Iowa.

Another of the settlers of 1851 was Thomas Bennett, who claimed land on section 29. He drifted in from Washington county, Iowa. He was Hardin county's first sheriff. In 1860 he removed to Michigan, but later settled in Iowa again and still later in Kansas.

In 1852 came L. L. Park from Ohio. He was a blacksmith and farmer and a man of much native ability. He set up the pioneer blacksmith shop in Pleasant township, beginning his work here beside the glowing forge in 1853. Later he moved to Missouri.

Another settler of 1852 was Lewis Green, who did not remain very long.

John Taylor Duke came in 1853, locating on the South Fork, in Pleasant township. He was a native of old Kentucky, born in 1805. He was one of the first men to settle in Iowa, there being only sixty-six white persons in the territory, and they loived at Flint Hills, now Burlington.

Jasper N. Rowan was a son of one of the first settlers of Hardin county, Iowa, coming here in 1850 from Washington county, having moved to that section of the state from Indiana. In 1864 Jasper N. Rowan enlisted as a member of Company B, Eleventh Iowa Infantry, under General Sherman on his Atlanta campaign and on his famous "march to the sea."

Another early settler in this township was John Marling, of section 28. He was born in Indiana in 1832. He was foremost in offering his services to his country when the Civil war broke out in all of its fury. On June 24, 1861, he enlisted in Company C, Sixth Iowa Infantry, being in many a hardfought battle and receiving an honorable discharge in 1862 for disability.

Leonidas Smith, one of the earliest ones to locate in Pleasant township, was born in Washington county, Virginia, in 1822. He was among the number who braved a western plain trip in the gold excitement days of 1850-51. He went with an ox team train and met many hardships both going and coming. He returned to Des Moines county and in 1853 moved to Hardin county. Truly he was a pioneer of pioneers, having seen frontier life in many states and territories.

In the spring of 1854 came Alpheus McIntyre, a native of Salem, Massachusetts, born in 1792. He made improvements in Pleasant township and died in 1868, highly respected for his many excellent traits of character.

E. C. Mossman, another Virginian, who located in this township, was born in Grayson county, Virginia, the date of his birth being 1825. In 1850 he caught the "gold fever" and went West, remaining until 1852, when he returned to Illinois and married, coming to Hardin county in 1854, locating on section 30, where, in 1884, he owned a fine farm of more than one hundred and fifty acres, valued then at thirty dollars per acre, but would sell now for one hundred dollars. He joined the Methodist church in 1856 and became a licensed preacher.

William Elerding was another early settler here, locating on section 26. He was twice married and reared a large family. He was an ardent Democrat and much interested in educational affairs. In church connection he was of the Lutheran faith.

Frederick Boody, who came to be known as one of the wealthiest of Pleasant township farmers, was a native of Hanover, Germany, born 1825. He came to this country when twenty-eight years of age, lived some time in Indiana and Illinois before locating in this county in 1854.

George Brooks, a native of New York state, born in 1803, located in this township, on section 17, in 1855. Politically, he was a supporter of the Democratic party and belonged to the Presbyterian church.

Other pioneers who helped to open up this township to thrift and a good state of cultivation are the following: M. J. Crosser, of Ohio, who located here in 1855; George C. Meyers, of New York state, who came in 1855 and, single-handed, went to work and succeeded in making a comfortable home for himself and family. He was a Democrat and a Baptist.

John Ely, an Ohioan, born in 1824 in Knox county, married and moved to Marshall county, Iowa, about 1853 and to Hardin county in the fall of 1856. He finally owned a half section of land in Pleasant township and paid much attention to bee culture, having at one date the largest number of bee stands in Hardin county.

Among the interesting careers of settlers in Pleasant township may be named John W. Linn, born in 1827 in Fayette county, Pennsylvania. He came west to Rock Island and in 1853 started for California, going by stage and rail to New York and from there by water. On his return he stopped at Philadelphia and other Pennsylvania points. The result of his trip to the land of gold was that upon arriving at his father's place he had only fifty cents in his pocket and none outside of it. In June, 1856, he arrived on Hardin county soil, and settled at Xenia, Eldora township, and in 1868 removed to Pleasant township, locating on section 18. In 1882 he had accumulated land amounting to three hundred and seven acres of prairie and twenty-eight acres of excellent timber. He then had over three hundred rods of Osage orange hedge on his farm and at that day he called his place worth thirty-five dollars per acre; not it will sell for more than a hundred dollars.

Others of a little later date, but very early, are these: S. B. Hubbard, 1857; Peter H. Doty, 1855; Oliver S. Wildman; John Downend, an Englishman, born in 1825, settled here in 1859; Joseph Race, an Englishman, born in 1817, located in this township in 1866; and there are dozens more whose names have been forgotten with the shifting of years and because of their removals from the county.

Township Officers, 1910

Justice of the peace, F. H. Meyers; constable, E. Kadolph; clerk, John Clary; trustees, F. E. Sprain, H. A. Hall and W. H. Wehrman; assessor, Thomas Lytle.

Villages of the Township

Of the three village plattings of Pleasant township, the oldest is Point Pleasant, platted in May, 1855, on the east half of the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 13, township 87, range 21, and the west half of the southwest quarter of section 18, township 87, range 20, by proprietors (full of hope) Joshua and Catherine Allen.

Improvements were first made there by Thomas J. Sheldon, who put in a stock of general merchandise and resided in the same building. It made some growth and in 1858 had a population of not far from three hundred, with several stores and shops, usually found in the new country hamlets. During the year 1858 the question was submitted to the people as to whether the county seat should be moved from Eldora to that point. The election returns counted and the vote showed that Point Pleasant had won out in the spirited contest, but the other side contested and the general chapters of this work will show the facts about the ten-year contest in the courts, before the matter was finally settled by Chief Justice Cole's decision in favor of Eldora; hence the town was doomed to eternal disappointment, it having lost the coveted prize as the county seat of Hardin county. The building of the Iowa Central railroad, in the meantime, had also sealed the transportation question for Point Pleasant.

Soon after the platting of the village, in 1855, a postoffice was established at Point Pleasant and T. J. Sheldon was appointed postmaster, he being succeeded by Dr. Cosgrove. When the free rural routes were established this office was discontinued.

Village of Quebec

Quebec was the name given to a village platted in 1856 by D. B. Blair, this being situated on section 22, township 87, range 20. The first building erected in this place was constructed for Marcus Blair and the first store opened by D. B. Blair. There never was a time when there were to be seen more than a half dozen houses in the hamlet. 1856 was a good year in which to start towns, but the panic of 1857 was a good year to destroy them!

Village of Lawn Hill

Lawn Hill is the railroad town of this township, and sprang up as one of the station points along the Northwestern line, in the south portion of Hardin county, in October, 1880, when it was platted by the railroad company, as they found no encouragement to run the line through New Providence and on account of the heavy grade it would have to encounter in doing so. Providence was the name first given to the railroad station, but later it was changed to lawn hill to obviate mixup in billing freight, New Providence and Providence being mistaken, one for the other. The postal department would not consent to have names so similar within the same county.

The place is situated on section 34 of Pleasant township. The first town lot sales were made October 18, 1880, and T. C. Cook soon moved a house to the plat. Miles Reese erected the first building the same autumn, it beng sixteen by twenty-two feet. In it a drug store was opened and Mr. Cook also dealt in groceries to a certain extent also. In 1881 a shoe shop, by C. Palmer, and a blacksmith shop, by J. W. Newby, were started. A Presbyterian minister of Gifford preached the first sermon in the new village in the early spring of 1881. Dr. C. J. Cook was the first physician of the place. The postoffice was established in January, 1881, and H. C. Allgood was appointed postmaster. He operated a hardware store, which was destroyed by fire in October, 1881, consuming the postal and village records. The postmasters have been: Henry Allgood, Clark Cook, Jerry Albery, G. B. Strayer, John Dodson, G. W. Beecher, J. H. Taylor, Henry Butt and the present one, George Elerding.

In 1881 the Cooks and Miles Reese erected the Monitor House, which was conducted later by J. D. Lundy.

The State Gazetteer for 1905 gave the following on Lawn Hill business interests: Population, fifty; general dealer, H. F. Butt; livery, A. Hall; grain and lumber dealers, E. J. Wood; blacksmith, G. Hate & Son.

In January, 1911, the only business houses are the general store of George Elerding and the Farmers Co-operative Elevator and Lumber Company. There is one church, the United Evangelical, Rev. O. S. Davis, pastor.

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