Madison County



This township, bearing the same name as the county, is bounded on the north by Dallas county, on the south by Douglas township, on the east by Jefferson, and on the west by Penn. Adjoining the township already described it has many of the same features, especially in the northern portion. This part of the township is composed of high rolling prairie land. It is on the divide between North Branch and 'Coon river, so well known as the "Quaker Divide" The southern part of the township is crossed by North Branch, along which there is a heavy growth of timber.

The first settlement in this township above North Branch was made by Derrick Bennett, afterward well known as a citizen of Winterset. He did the first breaking on the divide in this township. He settled in 1852 on what was afterward well known as the Barnett farm. William Fee was the next settler. A year or so later came J. W. Burnett, White Burnett and John Wilson with his sons Abihu, Christopher and Henry, all of whom settled on the divide. In 1854 Jacob Gabbert, Michael Gabbert, William Coe and Benjamin Powell and sons settled on the divide in the eastern part of the township.

In the southern part of the township settlements were made several years earlier than those just mentioned. James Brewer settled in this part of the township in 1849 and was probably the first settler in any part of Madison township. In 1852 Henry Grosclose, Henry Rice and a man named Hannahs took claims on the south side of the North Branch. In 1852 John Todd settled at the point known afterward as Worthington. George T. Nichols and Leroy Anderson came soon afterward.

The first school was taught in 1853 in a building put up for that purpose by Jacob Bennett. The teacher was Samuel Kirkland.

This township has improved steadily and is now one of the best townships in the county. The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad runs through five of the northern sections of the township. Earlham - a full account of which is given elsewhere - is located in this township. The town of Earlham constitutes a voting precinct distinct from the rest of the township.
Like Penn, this township has a number of citizens who belong to the Society of Friends. Some of the farms are very fine even for this region. Considerable attention is paid to stock-raising.

The present township officers are: Justices - Elihu Powell, D. M. Roberts; Trustees - Wm. McKibben, J. B. Anderson, R. B. Powell; Constables - William Gowin, J. W. Hill; Assessor - Columbus Burris; Clerk - R. W. McCullough.


Shown below is Madison Township as it appeared in 1875.  There were about 150 families (excluding Earlham town) living there at the time the map was made although only 6 are shown. The North Branch runs from Section 18 to Section 25 and eventually becomes the North River. The watershed in the north part of the township empties into the Raccoon River.  The map maker did not show the Earlham and Powell cemeteries although both were in use 1875. The main line of the Rock Island and Pacific railroad runs through the top tier of sections and through the town of Earlham. A railroad "Y" is shown in Section 4 which was used to reverse the direction of travel of the train engine on the main line. Rock quarries were active in Sections 5 and 32 and a number of Madison Township residents, mostly Irish immigrants, can be found in the 1870 Federal Census with the occupation of quarryman.

Madison Township - 1875

Maintained by the County Coordinator

This page was created on July 23, 2004.
This page was last updated Thursday, 13-Apr-2017 17:03:50 EDT .