Early Reminiscences, Personal Incidents and Anecdotes,
And A Complete Business Directory Of The County
By Samuel D. Chapman 1879
Contributed by Patty Delmott and Transcribed by Cyndi Vertrees
This is one of the oldest settled townships in the county, having been organized in the year 1853. To David Dean, and his two brothers belong the honor of the first settlement, they having build their cabin on sections 33 and 34, in the year 1852. But a short time after these gentlemen settled here A. M. Dunkle, Mr. Springmire, Pat Casey, and John Connelly*, came in, all settling in the vicinity of Buckingham. From this date the immigration increased quite rapidly. A large number of the first settlers still reside in the township, and nearly all have fine farms and are prominently identified with the history of the township, and County,
Buckingham township is principally prairie, though having in it considerable timber along the streams and southern part. The land is of good quality, and in it are some of the best farms, the finest residences and most substantial improvements found in the County. As a stock producing township it ranks among the best.
Here is the home of J. T. Ames, Esq., one of the largest farmers and hog raisers in the County. He has carried away from different Fairs in the State many blue ribbons. D. and S. Ewing, O. Gravatt, J. V. B. Green, J. W. Fleming and A. Cummings also devote a great deal of labor and attention to this branch of industry and are now heavy farmers.
The southern part of the township is watered by Twelve Mile Creek and on the east it is watered by Rock Creek and its tributaries.
*From some of the early settlers and the records of Tama County we gather this strange history of Mr. Connolly’s life. As shown by the testimony of his son at the preliminary examination. He murdered his wife on the 15th of March, 1859, by striking her a blow on the head, and finding her dead he buried her for a few days under the straw and coarse manure in his stable, and then removed her one evening, by his son’s aid and buried her on the farm of Mr. T. F. Clark. A few years after the son’s wife becoming dissatisfied with Connelly’s treatment, disclosed enough of the transaction to lead to his arrest, on a warrant issued by N. Fisher J. P. of Toledo and by whom, after hearing the evidence of the case he was placed in the custody of constable H. C. Foster at the close of the trial, who took him home with him that evening, intending to start with him the following morning for the jail at Marion, in Linn County.
When it was nearly dark, and while Connelly and Foster were seated near the open door in the front room of the latter’s house, Connelly asked for a drink of water. Foster went back to his kitchen, got the water but when he returned there was no Connelly there to drink it nor has there been to this day.
Foster immediately reported to the town his loss, and the people turned out to assist in the search, but could not find him in the darkness, nor have they ever since in the day light. The residents of that time speak of it as a very singular escape.
The township was organized in April, 1853, and comprised what is now Crystal, Geneseo, Perry, Clark and Grant townships. The first election was held on the first Monday in April, 1853.
In 1855 the town of Buckingham was founded and named after ex-Governor Buckingham of Connecticut. The land on which the town is situated belonged to G. Lyman and the Connell brothers, purchased by them of West Wilson, Esq., who entered it in July, 1853. Dr. H. C. Stanley opened the first store, and afterwards sold to D. Connell. Others came and the little Western Village soon comprised four stores, two blacksmith shops, one shoe shop, one wagon shop, one tin shop, two churches, one large school house, post office and several dwellings; but no sooner had the town realized success that it was plucked in the bud by the founding of Traer in 1873, within three-fourths of a mile, which attracted the attention of all business and the town of Buckingham was soon a dilapidated ruin, to be no more.
Mr. Horton, an old settler of the township, and son while crossing Wolf Creek, near the present home of W. K. Snow, then known as Indian Ford, was drowned. It seems that they had been working on the opposite side of the creek from the house, and in the evening when returning, found that the stream had swollen to a great depth, and that the only way for them to cross was by swimming. Their team, which consisted of four yoke of oxen, was driven into the water and by some cause, both Horton and son were thrown from the wagon into the water and drowned. The bodies, which had been carried down stream a considerable distance were soon recovered.
The first marriage in the township was Mr. Harrison Hill to Miss Charlotte Helm, the fall of 1864, by John Connell J. P.
The first death was a son of M. Spade, in August 1853.
In 1855 Leander Clark erected a Saw Mill on Wolf Creek, near W. K. Snow’s present residence.
The following is the list of township Justices, Clerks and Trustees since the organization of the township.
Justices: J. Connell, D. Dean, T. K. Shiner, L. Clark, J. C. Wood, C. Gay, N. Reed, G. Jaqua, W. T. V. Ladd, T. L. Drew, E. M. Ungher, W. W. Blanchard, P. H. Mason.
Clerks: J. P. Wood, J. B. Dean, H. T. Graston, W. A. Daniels, O. Gravatt, B. Roberts, B. F. Thomas, J. Kingery, J. M. Winn, A. N. Bates, B. L. Keeler.
Trustees: D. Dean, N. J. Osborn, S. Dunkle, I. Taylor, J. L. Ames, J. B. Hankison, E. Murdock, A. Gordon, D. S. and W. T. V. Ladd, R. Connell, J. Kingery, D. C. Underhill, M. S. Belknap, H. A. Owens, A. Antram, A. Wood, H. E. Davis, O. Gravatt, A. Cummings, J. Phillips.