township is bounded on the north by Dallas county, on the south by
Jackson township, on the east by Madison township and on the west
by Adair county, and is the northwest corner township of the
county, and is located on range twenty-nine.
may be questioned whether there is in all Iowa a finer township of
land than this for the general purposes of agriculture. The soil
is the richest of the dark loam abounding throughout the drift
regions, and in this township is entirely free from stone. The
fertility of the soil even approaches to rank luxuriance, and it
will take ages to exhaust its primeval vigor. The location of the
township is high and there is scarcely an acre of waste land in
its limits. Scarcely any natural timber is to be found and the
prairies sweep away in rolling undulations. This township embraces
the most beautiful portion of the famed district known as the
township was one of the last in the county to be settled. The
early settlers held the mistaken idea that the most valuable land
was that covered with timber in the river bottoms or the prairie
immediately adjoining it; consequently the timbered portions were
the first settled and the splendid prairie lands were unoccupied
for several years. This township was first settled in 1856 by C.
P. Wright and James Jeffries. They dwelt here in entire loneliness
until the following summer, when J. E. Darby, Thomas Wilson and
David Stanton came among them and selected splendid prairie farms
and united their fortunes with those of Penn township. Settlers
continued to come in steadily but slowly during the early years.
During the war times there was comparatively little improvement
made, but in the following years the growth of the township was
rapid. During the years 1867 and 1868 the population increased
from 225 to 454.
might be conjectured from the name of the township and the popular
description of this territory as the "Quaker Divide,"
the township numbers a large number of citizens who belong to the
religious body known as the Society of Friends. They are in the
true scriptural sense "a peculiar people." Frugal and
industrious they are surrounded by thrift and plenty; honest,
kind-hearted and religious, they command the esteem of all. Rarely
is the peace of Penn township disturbed by strife or evil discord.
generally destitute of natural forest trees there was quite an old
land-mark here in the earliest days in the form of a beautiful
grove. It was in this grove that David Stanton located his house.
It is some six or seven acres in extent and is located on very
high ground, consequently it can be seen for a wide distance and
the California emigrants used to pilot their course by it. In this
way it gained the name of Pilot Grove, a title it has retained
until the present time.
township is well watered by the North Branch and its tributary,
the South Fork. Although the soil is free from rocks, some stone
has been found in places in the township of such good quality that
it has been used with success in building.
present officers of the township are: Justices - James Simonds,
Wm. Fleming; Trustees - Hiram Ford, Isaac Piper, Alex. Bell;
Constables - Frederick Eish, E. R. Chandler; Assessor - Daniel
Francis; Clerk - W. A. Ross.
below is Penn Township as it appeared in 1875. There were
about 145 families exclusive of Earlham town living there at the time the map was made
although only 6 are shown and despite the fact that the township was
the last of the county to be settled. The North Branch is the primary watershed in
the north third of the township, Jim Creek in the center third, and
Tom Creek which joins the North Branch in Madison Township is the
watershed in the south third. There were two active
cemeteries as shown in 1875.