Sketch of Platt Township
Copyright 1998 by Pat O'Dell
from the Iowa South-West Jul 22, 1876
Previous to 1866, Platt township, this county, embraced the whole
of townships 69 and 70 N. range 32 W. The first prairie broke
for farming purposes was probably on Section 12.70.32, by
John Kilgore on the farm now owned by Mr. Chester. But
the same spring, 1855, William McVey, sen., William Caplinger
and James McVey commenced work on their farms, the first
in Ringgold county, sections 6-70-31, the others in sections 11
and 24 of this county.
About the same time, most likely the same spring (1855)
Oliver Jenks and S.W. Robinson commenced a farm on section
20 in township 69 range 32. These pioneer settlers or portions
of their families still live on or near their old homesteads. Mr
Jenks died a few years since, and Mr Kilgore sold the farm
he opened up to G.R. McDuffie, now living in Union county.
Mr Kilgore probably built the first house in Platt township
in the year of 1856, and Mr Caplinger built on the farm
he now occupies, the following autumn. The first election
in Platt township was held at the home of William Caplinger,
in October, 1857, at which W. Caplinger was elected J.P.,
Oliver Jenks, township clerk, O. Jenks and S.W. Robinson,
trustees. At that time every man in Platt township held an
office with the exception perhaps of McDuffie.
The first postoffice in the township, established Dec
1857, at the house of W. Caplinger, and called, "Lone;"
probably because it was so far out on the prairie as it
The winter of 1855-56 was an exceedingly severe
one and caused great hardships to the early settlers. Their
nearest mill was on Middle River in Madison county
or in Missouri a few miles southeast of Maryville. Con-
sequently bread stuffs were scarce and dear, and could
only be obtained after toil or expense. In fact all their
supplies were to be obtained from a distance as a
sufficiency of grain had not yet been grown to meet the
wants of the pioneers to say nothing of a surplus upon
which they could draw as circumstances might require.
The severe weather of that winter found many
almost totally unprepared for it; their houses in some
cases built literally of small poles not more than four
to six inches in diameter, could not be made so close
and cosy that the wind could not find a place through
which to pass considerable snow, and when as was
sometimes the case, the husband and father would
have to go off with an ox team to mill sixty or seventy
miles distant, and be compelled to be absent several
days, it was no child's play for the women and children
to gather their wood from under the snow drift or
care for the stock.
In 1857, there were only two or three families
residing in what is now known as Platt township,
one in Grove township, two in Grant, two or three
in Marshall. In two or three years more, new farms
began to be opened rapidly.
[reprinted from the Lenox Time-Table.]