Washington Township, Page County, Iowa
1880 PAGE COUNTY, HISTORY - page 571 -

In 1858 this township included the  greater part  of congressional township No. 67 north, range 39 west, and part of range 38.    The first settlements were made prior to its organization, and were by B. C. Freeman, of Missouri, J. B. Vansandt of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Alexander Vansandt.   These persons are all supposed to have come in the year 1856.   Shortly afterward Messrs. Mawhinney, Johnson, Webb, Wilkinson, Mullen and others " staked out" claims, and began homes. This township had the experiences of the others of the county, its residents being subjected to the usual privations of a pioneers life, meeting with the same discouragements and rejoicing in the same or similar triumphs. They early began to care for the educational and religious interests of their children—the first school house having been built at Union Grove in 1861, by a Miss Dupray, and the first sermon having been preached by the Rev. Stephen Blanchard in the same place—and they have intelligently cared for the same ever since.   But industrial matters were cared for as well—Mrs. B. C. Freeman being the first person to weave cloth. The love affairs of the township have known only one untoward circumstance, which was the suicide by shooting of Mr. James Hilderbrand, through temporary insanity, caused by disappontment in love matters.    The love experiences of J. M. Kinne and Miss Kate Hull were brought to a most happy consummation by their marriage on July 5, 1860, at the home of the bride's parents, which marriage was the first one in the township. The wife of B. C. Freeman not only wove the first cloth, but gave birth to the first male child, in September, 1856.   The following year daughter of Alexander and Susan Vansandt, was born, being female child born in the township.

The Baptist church was organized in January, 1876, with C. P. Green and wife, G. E. Morrill and wife, R. F. Freeman and wife, and Cox as members.   They possess no church, but worship in the school house.   The pastors have been the Revs. Irely, Webb, and E. N. Best. The society is now in fair condition.

This church was organized in 1866.   D. A. Peck and wife, Henry Welb and wife, Mrs. E. Welb, Richard Dupray and wife, T. C. Petie and wife, James Hull and wife were the original members.   They worship in a school house under the pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. Reid. There is now a membership of 22, and a flourishing Sabbath school, attesting the zeal of its members.

1909 -

Washington is the southwestern corner township of Page county. It east of Fremont county, south of Morton township, west of Colfax and north of the Missouri state line. It is, strictly speaking, congressional township 67, range 39 west. The West Tarkio river is the only stream of any consequence. The soil of this section of Page county is rich of the richest and from it is produced all kinds of grain, grasses, vegetables and fruit common to this climate. In 1858 the records of this township show that this township embraced all of congressional township 67, range 39 west, and part of range 38, but subsequently it was cut down to the six-mile-square rule.


The first settlement was made, in 1856 by B. C. Freeman, of Missouri, J. B. Van Sandt, of Philadelphia, and Alexander Van Sandt. Shortly afterward came Messrs. Mawhinney. J. S. Johnson, the Webb family, Charles Wilkinson, Mullen and a few others who "staked out" claims and at once began to build homes for themselves.
In 1862, when David Peck came into the township and effected settlement on section 21, he found living in the township: B. C. Freeman. on section 32; Father Clauser, section 32 ; John and Alexander Van Sandt, section 28; Harvey, Edgar and Leonard Webb, A. J. Mawhinney. section 26, Dr. James Hull, section 26: and a man named Ridgeway, on section 20. During the next four or five years there came Richard Dupray, Thomas Peter, P. S. Hunter, Sylvester Johnson, Isaiah Martin, Jack Dugan, S. Scram, E. W. Comfort, Jack and Henry Wiar, John Lee, J. M. Darbee, and T. J. Gibson.

From the time the railroad was built through Essex and Shenandoah in 1870, settlement was made very rapidly.

The first schoolhouse erected in Washington township was the one at Union Grove in 1861.
Miss Emeline Dupray taught the first school.
The first sermon was preached by Rev. Stephen Blanchard about 1862. The first person to weave cloth in the township was Mrs. B. C. Freeman. The first marriage was that of J. M. Kine to Miss Kate Hull, July 5, 1860.
The first male child born was to Mr. and Mrs. B. C. Freeman, in September, 1856.
The first female child was Mary, daughter of Alexander and Susan Van Sandt, born in 1857.
The first cemetery was platted on section 21. It contained three acres and was on Mr. Peck's land.
The first persons buried there were: George Peck, in 1865; Ida M. Peck and Clara Peck, in 1866.

However great the temptations of the early settlers might have been to forget their early training in sacred things, they did not yield, for we find that among the first enterprises they undertook was the providing of schools and church societies, the latter of which held services at private homes and at schoolhouses. The first sermon was preached in Washington township by Rev. Stephen Blanchard, Wesleyan Methodist, in 1861 or 1862, at the Union Grove schoolhouse.
The Methodist people gained early footing in these parts as well as in nearly all western sections. What was known as Union Grove charge, was for years a stronghold of Methodism. Another point where this sect were in early days was at West Point, near the county line.
The Christian church was formed in 1887 with twenty-three members. They held services in the Union Grove schoolhouse two miles west of the village of Northboro. The first pastor was Rev. W. W. Hallem, and the first deacons were D. W. Flickinger and Isaac Speakman, while the elder was H. H. Whitney.
A Baptist church was formed in January, 1876, with C. P. Green and wife, G. E. Morrill and wife, R. F. Freeman and wife and Charles Cox. They worshipped at schoolhouses but when Northboro village started, the church was changed to that point.


The pioneer schoolhouse of Washington township was erected in 1861 and has since been known as Union Grove. Miss Dupray taught the first term of school here. As the years have passed and the country has de­veloped, the people have kept fully up to the standard of Page county's school system and is now provided with several excellent buildings

The postoffice within the township is located at Northboro, on the railroad.

This is a small station on the Denver Short Line railroad, on section 23 of Washington township. It was platted by the town lot company, September, 1881. It is finely located on a hill and overlooks a magnificent rural district, where all is thrift and prosperity.
The first attempt at business at this point was in the autumn of 1881 as soon as the railway was built through. R. J. Mason put in a stock of groceries as the first store. Hill & Scott Brothers soon opened up a general merchandise stock. The following located here in the fall and early winter of 1881; Henderson & Bunting, hardware; Blanchard & Peck, groceries and queensware; A. D. Kerr, groceries; R. J. Mason, blacksmith shop; hotel by McPherson, who soon sold to Mrs. McGinness; real estate, J. R. Montague; lumber yard, George Palmer & Company.
The first to deal in grain at Northboro was G. E. Morrill; first in the livery business, E. Benedict; first in the harness business, W. L. Dunmire; first in boot and shoe repair shop, S. Fields; first in millinery goods, C. M. Dupray; first to deal in drugs, J. H. Word, first agricultural goods, Ferguson Brothers & Wood.

The denominations represented at Northboro are the Methodist Episcopal and Baptist and each have church edifices.
The Methodist society was the first to worship. Prior to 1882 there was a class at Union Grove schoolhouse, but upon the platting of Northboro, a church was formed. S. D. Blanchard, J. S. Wolf and H. A. Maxwell were the committee to arrange for building. They raised funds and had a frame edifice nearly completed when the terrible cyclone,—wind and hail storm—of July 13, 1883, demolished it. The following year, 1884, they built on the same foundation, a structure thirty-two by fifty feet, at a cost of two thousand dollars. A parsonage was soon after bought in the county and removed to the church lots.
The Baptist church was formed by fifteen members in the winter of 1886-87. They built a new frame church, twenty-eight by forty-four feet with an alcove and vestibule, at a cost of seventeen hundred dollars. This was dedicated on the 23d of February, 1890.
Gettysburg Post, No. 241, G. A. R., was organized in Northboro, in fall of 1882, by sixteen members.  The first commander was George E. Morrill.   They own their own hall.
Sons of Veterans, Shiloh Camp, No. 119, was organized July 1, 1887 by seventeen charter members. The first captain was W. W. Creal; first lieutenant, F. M. Jump; second lieutenant, O. W. Holcomb.