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
Spring Creek township lies between Lincoln on the north and Carlton on the south, Crystal on the east, and Marshall County on the west.
Wolf Creek in the north and central part, Deer Creek, in the southern portion of the township, place Spring Creek among the most favored townships in the County in regard to water courses. The soil is rich and very productive the surface being gently rolling and well drained.
Lying somewhat remote from the railway lines, which traverse other sections of the County, Spring Creek township relies only upon State and County roads for its thoroughfares; it contains no large towns, but can boast of some of the finest farms in Central Iowa.
The first settlement in the township was made by L. S. Fredericks and Wm. A. Bywaters, who employed a workman named Chapman to erect a cabin and improve certain lands in the vicinity of a large grove, now known as Union Grove, in the fall of 1853. In April, 1854, they brought their families from Jackson County and entered their new home in the grove, jointly occupying for the time a small cabin 14 x 15. Thos. Jukes also came with them and soon after came E. L. Kuns and family, Chas. C. Knowles, Oscar Hill, J. G. Hull, Wm. B. and O. King, N. C. Knapp, and others, all of whom set to work improving farms, enjoying the free and unconventional life of the pioneer, with its hardships and privations on the one hand, and its freedom and merry-making, on the other.
The beautiful grove wherein the first settlement was made, and which still stands in its primitive vigor and beauty, obtained the name of “Union Grove” from the unity which prevailed among the first settlers in its vicinity, while the township derived its name from the numerous springs which rise in the grove and feed the various water courses in the township. The grove is to-day very beautiful, and standing in relief amidst the prairie farms, would make a pleasant summer resort.
At a term of the County Court of Tama County, held on the 10th day of March, 1858, a petition was presented by W. Bowen signed by himself and others, praying a division of Carlton township, on the township line between township 84 and 85, forming a new township to be known as Spring Creek township, which was granted and it was ordered by L. Clark, County Judge, that the first election in the new township be held at the house of W. B. King, on the first Monday in April of the same year, for the purpose of choosing township officers.
At present there are two villages in the township-Spring Creek and Badger Hill, with a post office in each thriving village.
Miss Mary Wylie, now Mrs. McClain, taught the first school in the township, in a building erected in the grove on land leased of W. B. King.
For the most part the lives of the earlier settlers of this township were devoid of those stirring and often times deplorable incidents which serve to enliven pioneer life and to give coloring to frontier scenes, for although their lands were then wild and unbroken these settlers found themselves by no means upon the frontier of civilization, settlements having already been formed at no great distance upon each side of them.
During the prevalence of the most severe storm in their early experience, Wm. Merrill, attempting to visit the home of one of his neighbors, lost his way, became bewildered, and remaining in the storm nearly all night narrowly escaped freezing to death.
A little son of John and Nancy Hiley wandered away from home one September day 1868, and was lost in the brush a little south of Union Grove, while his mother was gathering plums in the grove. The alarm was given, people throughout the township turned out en-mass to join in the search, and the child was tracked by keen scented hounds to the banks of a small stream, where the trail was lost and the search was finally abandoned as fruitless. In the early spring the remains of the lost child were found near the creek by Mrs. Mary Blakely who is still a resident of the township.
Among the heaviest tax-payers in Spring Creek township at present may be mentioned Messrs J. G. Hull, S. S. Mann, Wm Merrill, H. Merrill, R. J. Jackson, S. Berry, A. Allard and Hess brothers.
Riding along the highways of the township over the rich rolling land which constitute the home stead of the larger farmers, ones attention is attracted by the appearance of large and elegant residences, notably those of S. S. Mann, S. Berry, and A. Allard.
A plot of ground in the grove, purchased of Wm. Merrill, has been devoted to cemetery purposes by the citizens; and the grounds are well laid out and kept very neat.
Religious services are held at stated intervals in the various school houses in the township.
Spring Creek post office is located at Union Grove, wherein various branches of business are conducted, as follows.
One store established by Jos. Schichtl, in 1874, who carries a general stock and does a thriving trade.
One blacksmith shop owned by Martin Schichtl who purchased it of a Grange Association to whom it had been sold in 1874 by W. B. King, who established it in 1872.
A barb wire establishment, operated by J. Kuns, and Vince Schichtl.
The second post-office and village, was settled by a small colony from Wisconsin, the Badger State, who gave the settlement the name it bears, in honor of their native State. Business is conducted according to the following representations:
Hess Bros. proprietors of a dry goods and grocery store, established in 1874. P. G. Hess, post-master.
H. Galloway, blacksmith, business established in 1874.
Flouring Mill, operated by Myers & Wescott, established in 1871.
J. P. Gage, proprietor wagon and repair shop, established in 1877.
A commodious church edifice was completed in the spring of 1879 by the United Brethern Society.
The following township officers we compile from the records.
Justices J. Mitchell, W. B. King, S. V. R. Kelley, G. M. Finch, V. S. Bartlett, W. Bowen, C. N. Knapp, S. Day, E. W. Thomas, R. Yeoman, S. S. Mann, L. Horn, W. H. Holstead, G. C. Wescott, R. Reichmann, A. C. Marston, A. Benson, W. C. Bunce, W. O. Pons, J. Schichtl.
Clerk W. Bowen, A. A. Benson, A. T. Willard, G. C. Wescott, W. H. Holstead, W. Shattuck, B. Smith, C. French.
Trustees J. G. Hull, C. N. Knapp, R. Jackson, a. C. Marston, W. L. Smith, V. S. Merritt, E. L. Kuns, O. King, T. Baker, J. G. Hull, G. M. Finch, J. Yetty, W. Merrill, L. Horn, A. Bartholomew, C. W. Hiatt, C. French, A. C. Marston, W. Sharp, A. Bates, G. W. Hess, W. Overmire, H. Merrill, A. Benson, W. Shattuck, H. Holstead, S. W. Berry, W. O. Pond, R. Yeoman, G. Wescott, R. Smith.