township is bounded on the north by Douglas, on the south by
Monroe, on the east by Scott, and on the west by Webster. It is
drained principally by Middle river, which passes through it from
west to east a little north of the center. It abounds in heavy
timber along the course of this stream. Heavy deposits of
limestone are found, and also some coal along the banks of the
river. The surface presents considerable variety , being much
broken along the course of the river, while to the north and south
is high, rolling prairie land, admirably fitted for farming.
first settlers located in the timber along Middle river. The first
to come were Absalom Thornbrugh, C. D. Wright and Daniel Vancil,
who came in 1847. James Bertholf and Elijah Perkins came in 1849.
Alexander Bertholf and his sons, together with Joshua Gentry and
John Heaton, came in 1850. John Macomber, Wm. Harman and L. D.
Skidmore came soon after.
early as 1852 this township had two of the original pioneer mills
known as "corn crackers," along Middle river. They
served as saw-mills and also for grinding corn, and were erected
by James Bertholf and Mr. Hogg. The "Madison Woolen
Mills" were built in this township in 1865, at a point on the
Council Bluffs road about one and one half miles west of
Winterset. J. T. White and N. W. Munger were the proprietors. The
building was of stone, forty by fifty feet, three stories high,
and with a wing twenty by twenty-five feet, with room for engine,
boiler and dry room. In addition some half dozen dwellings for
operatives, ware-rooms, etc. The machinery for this establishment
was manufactured expressly for Messrs. White and Munger, at
Lawrence and Worcester, Mass., and Staffordville, Conn., and
comprises two pickers, one duster, two setts 40 inch manufacturing
cards, two double acting roll cards, two 240 spindle jacks, one
fifty spindle twister, one three yard wide fancy Crompton loom,
one yard wide fancy Crompton, two yard wide Stafford, three two
and a half yard wide Day and Lovejoy. This establishment employed
some twenty hands, and the goods manufactured took a first premium
at the district fair in Des Moines in 1868.
mills were destroyed by fire in 1877. It was a great loss as they
had been for years the chief manufacturing interests of the
great natural curiosity in Lincoln township is described as
follows: "About five miles west of Winterset, on Middle
river, is a peculiar formation of nature bearing the euphoneous
title of ' Devil's Back Bone' or ' Hogback.'
back-bone of his Satanic Majesty bears quite a local notoriety. If
the ridge were surrounded by a large body of water it would simply
be termed a promontory. As it is, it is merely a high, rough rocky
ridge, so narrow that at the top there is only room for a wagon
road. Middle river running from east to west, strikes this high
ridge, which is over two hundred feet above the water level, and
then bears in a circuitous rout away, and some two or three miles
further down its course bends around until it passes on the other
side of the same steep, high ridge. From water to water, directly
through the ridge, is less than one hundred feet. An early settler
in that neighborhood, named John Harman, together with his sons,
tunnelled the ridge through solid rock, occupying three years time
to do the work. They thus obtained a waterfall of twenty feet,
making it the most desirable site for a mill in the western
country. A large room has been made in the rock around the mill
end of the race, making as delightful a bathing place as can be
found anywhere. A large gristmill and saw-mill has lately been
erected at this point by Messrs. Wilkin and Co. This back-bone is
quite a curiosity and worth going a long distance to see."
present officials are: Justice - Jeremiah Coakley; Trustees - Wm.
Hartsock, A. Macomber, G. W. Tracy; Constable - T. E. Weeks;
Assessor - James Bertholf; Clerk - Ezra Brownell.
below is Lincoln Township as it appeared in 1875. There were
about 200 families living in Lincoln Township in 1875, which was
double the population of some of the other townships.
Lincoln Township is bisected by the Middle River, entering in
Section 18 and exiting in Section 12. The area along the
river was heavily wooded and eventually, portions of Section 15
&16 became Pammel State Park. The two cemeteries shown
have been in use since the 1850s.