Highland Township

The following articles were written by pupils of the rural schools for the Washington Evening Journal--14 September 1942 and republished in the Fall 2008 issue of the WCGS newsletter. Original authors unknown.

                    Highland was Once Part of Iowa Twp.
(Early Settlers)

    Highland township was organized and known as part of Iowa township in 1849. This was in October,and the following April the first election of officers occurred. It continued to be a part of Iowa township until 1854, when Highland township was organized.

    The first settlement was made by John Clark, who took a claim in section 7 in the year 1840. Mr. Clark was a native of Pennsylvania, but came to Iowa from Indiana. His family consisted of three boys: Joseph, John, and David; three daughters: Katy, Mary and Martha. The eldest daughter was a widow who had three children; her name was Kirtz. Mrs.Clark died in 1847 and Mr. Clark died in 1865, aged eighty years.

    The next settler was Ahira D. Liming, who settled on section 18 in 1841. Mrs. Liming died in 1844, which is supposed to have been the first death in the township; she was buried on the south side of Grove creek, not far from where Mr. Liming lived.

First Sermon in 1843

    John Forbes settled near where the military road crossed Grove creek in section 17. It was in Mr. Forbes' cabin that the first sermon was preached by F. R. S. Byrd, of the United Brethren church, in the winter of 1843 and 1844.

    In 1844 Isaac McGruder settled in section 22; William Wallace settled on section 23 and Moses Lane on eh same section.  John A. Brewere, Amos Brewer and Solomon Albaugh settled on section 26 about the same time.

    The families already mentioned were all the persons who settled in the township prior to the year 1845. Shortly afterward several new settlers came to the township, among whom were: D. C. Smeiser, settled on section 5: E. W. Marshall located on section 12; also J. F. Litsey and Lot Owen: John Tompkins bought out John Forbes.

    The first marriages in the township were those of John Parks to Elizabeth Wallace, and Eli Wallace to Margaret McGruder. These marriages occurred in 1845, and were solemnized by Rev. John Hayden.

Claims Near Timber

    At first, the settlers, without exception, made their claims near the timber, and the best of the prairie was entered by non-residents and remained unsettled until 1859. At this time, settlers began to come in rapidly, and in 1854, the township was detached from Iowa and organized. J. Ray and E. Supple were the first justices of the peace, and Caleb Marston, clerk.

    In 1848 Davis Creek post office was established on section 5, C. G. Maynard being the first postmaster. In 1854 Dairy post office was established on section 28. R. Prettyman being the first postmaster. Both of these offices were a long time ago discontinued. In 1880 there was one post-office located in the township. It was called White Ash and was located on section 1.

    The first birth in the township was that of John Tomkins, son of John and Catharine Tomkins. It is not positively known where the first school was taught, but Mr. Emmerson taught a very successful school at Harrisburg in 1854; he was buried at Davis Creek cemetery. The Kentucky school-house. erected on section 11 in 1845, was probably the first schoolhouse in the township. The first person sentenced to the penitentiary from the township. He was convicted of forgery in 1855.

    Harrisburg, Early Town
    Harrisburg was laid out by John Burris in 1855. This town was located on section 14. For a time, great efforts were made to build up a town. Mr. Burris bought a large amount of land in the vicinity of the town which was located on the southwest quarter of the section. Quite a number of lots were sold and all the land in the vicinity of the proposed town was rapidly settled up.

    About one hundred houses were built in the town and on the land adjacent which was supposed to belong to Burris. At the full tide of prospering, Harrisburg met with a sudden collapse from which it never recovered, and ever since that time the material proportions gradually vanished from  the mortal eye and its memory from human recollection. The cause of Harrisburg's decline and fall was the sudden failure of Burris and the financial ruin of all who o had anything to do with him.
Baptist, Methodist Churches

    Davis Creek Baptist church was organized July 11, 1868. D. Rice, A. Owens, J. Letiry, J. Little, W. Owens, F. Green, D. Owens, Mary Letiry, Nancy Green, Eliza Marston, Jane Rice, Mary B. Green, Mary E.Little, Sarah T. Marsh, and Margaret B. Owens were the original members in 1858 a frame church building was erected on the northeast  quarter of the section 11.

    East Praire M. E. church was organized i n 1870, with a membership of about 80. In May 1876, the organization bought the East Prairie school-house, located on section 8, and fitted it up for a place of worship at a cost of  $350.