The History of Keokuk County, Iowa



This township is composed of township 76 and over half of 75, range 11 and contains a larger population, except Sigourney, than any other in the county. In 1850 there were 239 inhabitants, in 1856 there were 806 and in 1875 there were 1,532. This township is inhabited almost exclusively by Germans, who are well situated and are contented and industrious. Neither the Democratic nor the Republican party has ever been able to control the vote of this township, and consequently this is the chief battlefield during the heated contests for the election of county officers. Although the people of German township are not owned by any political organization, they never forget their enemies nor forsake their friends in time of need. Mr. Snakenberg and Casper Klett were among the first settlers of this township, the former still living near where he first settled and the latter dying a few years since. He was born in Saxony in 1813; came to Iowa in 1835 and to Keokuk county in 1839, and became the leading citizen of German township. He had thirteen children, ten of whom are living. B. T. Moore came to the county in 1853, and since that time has followed farming in this township. He lives on section 16, township 76, range 11. John Helcher settled in German township in 1869, where he married Miss Anna Snakenberg. He lives on section 36. Martin Weaver lives on section 16; he came to the township in 1857 with $700, and is now worth about $7,000. John Beinhart came to the township in 1846 and entered the land upon which his son, John Beinhart, Jr., now lives. He died shortly after coming to the township. Calvin McCay settled in German township in 1858. He bought eighty acres of land and had only $100 to pay on it. He now has two hundred acres of well improved land, and is out of debt. The foregoing illustrates the character of the majority of the farmers of German township. There are in this township, thirteen school-houses. The first one was built in 1847, and stood east of Garibaldi in the timber, and was called No. 1. In 1849 district No. 2 built a house one mile west of Garibaldi; both were log houses 16x20 feet with one window and one door. In 1854 district No. 4 was organized and a house built. It was 16x18 feet, made of hewed logs, puncheon floor one door and five windows; the district was three miles wide and six miles long, and here Levi Bower, the present county treasurer, taught his first school. One among the first school teachers of the township was Duke Rosecrans, an uncle of Gen. Rosecrans and Henry Rosecrans, of Sigourney. Wm Love also taught school in the same neighborhood in early days. H. D. Todd, for many years subsequently county superintendent, taught school in German town for several terms.

The first church in German township was a German Methodist church, organized in 1852. The first members were Didrick Snakenberg, Lewis and John Snakenberg, Andrew Hoffman, Court Meyerdick, Anton Glander, John Flitch, David and John Beinhart. The present pastor is Rev. Philip Barth. There is a Catholic church at Baden, built in 1857, the present pastor being Rev. P. Kerr. There is also a Lutheran church, built in 1857, organized in 1855, first members were Christian Dunsing, Wm. Bienman, Ferdinand Wickenkump, Didrick Strohman, Jan Shermer, Didrick Buns and Herman Beinka.

A coal bank known as Wm. Loughridge's bank was discovered in 1856 by John Hartman. The vein was only eighteen inches thick and has not been operated for a number of years.

In 1856, John Hartman built a saw mill on German creek; it was the first and only experiment with water-power in the township, and was not a success. It was washed away shortly after it was built. In 1855 John Holsworth built a steam saw-mill on land owned by Sebastian Striegle, which was afterward removed one mile west of Garibaldi, where it is still operated. Joseph Kohlhouse built a steam saw-mill in the southern part of the township and operated it till 1871, when it was destroyed by the tornado.

The first cemetery was laid out on Didrick Snakenberg's land near the old German Methodist church, in 1847. The first person buried there was John Beinhart. In 1856 another cemetery was laid out near the Lutheran church. John Brumert, one of the first settlers of the township, was among the first buried there. There is still another cemetery in the north part of the township which was laid out in 1859. Silas Richardson, one of the old pioneers was buried there.

There are no doctors at present. Samuel Todd has practiced law for twenty years. C. H. Mohland began the practice a few years since. There were formerly two breweries in the south part of the township, one of them operated by William Jugenheimer and the other by Philip Mitchell; both were discontinued some time since.

Baden was the first town laid out in German township. It was laid out in 1856 by Sebastian Striegle. The first house was built by G. H. B. Striegle, now of Harper, who built a dwelling house and blacksmith shop in 1857. The next building was erected by a Mr. Franken, who erected a dwelling and grocery-house combined. L. Striegle erected a store-room and Christ. Striegle built a dwelling-house soon after. In 1857 a Catholic church was built in Lafayette township, and some time after it was moved to Baden, where it is now located.

Garibaldi was laid out in 1858. It contains a post-office, one store and a Turner's hall. It is chiefly noted for its facilities for furnishing amusement for the boys.

The present township officers are:

 Justices of the Peace—Henry Gortner and Fred. Cox.

 Constables—Mart. Mohland and J. W. Snakenberg.

 Clerk—C. H. Mohland.

 Trustees—John Knox, John Helcher and Henry Kilmer.

 Assessor—Theodore Blaise.

Transcribed by Pat Wahl. Thank you, Pat!


These pages were designed and are maintained by IAGenWeb solely for the  use and benefit of the  IAGenWeb Project, a part of the USGenWeb Project.
Copyright © 1997 by IAGenWeb & Other Contributors        
Please read the IAGenWeb Terms, Conditions, & Disclaimer  --all of which apply to Keokuk Co.

Back to top of page                             Return to Keokuk Co. IAGenWeb                             Back to top of page

Photo background collage is made from penny postcards of Keokuk County, donated to the USGenWeb Archives