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1876 Centennial History

of Webster County,

its TOWNS AND TOWNSHIPS,

also the City of Fort Dodge


Townships of Webster County


WASHINGTON.

Webster County is divided into twenty-one precincts or townships, as follows:

WASHINGTON was the first township organization in the county, and embraced all the territory now contained in Webster and Hamilton counties. It was organized by an order issued by the County Court of Boone county. The first election was held on Monday, the 4th day of April, 1853, at which time the first township officers in the county were elected. The following were the officers chosen: Township Assessor, SAMUEL ESLICK; Justices of the Peace, JOHN H. COFER and JOHN TOLMAN; Constables, JOHN DEVORE and CHARLES BURCHARD; Township Trustees, ISAAC HOOK, ANDREW GROSECLOSE and JOHN GAYLOR; Township Clerk, LOUDOWIC MARICLE.

In August, 1853, Judge WM. PIERCE divided the county in three townships, and left Washington all the territory north of township 87 in the county. In March, 1857, the County Court again changed the boundaries, which, with a slight change made in 1870, were the boundaries Washington now contains, to-wit: All of township 88, north of range 27, and sections 1, 12,13, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 35, and 36, township 88, range 28, east of the Des Moines river.

The oldest settler in this town now there is GEO. C. GOSS. The first school taught was by Mrs. FRANCIS B. DRAKE, in a log house on section 25, township 88, range 28. Mrs. DRAKE taught three months, had twenty-eight scholars enrolled, and on the last day of the school one of the directors culled and paid the teacher her wages in gold. This district, then number four in the county, received that year $29.92 public money from the school fund. There are now eight school-houses In the. township, two hundred and three scholars enrolled—two hundred and sixty-seven between the ages of five and twenty-one.

The Evangelical Lutheran Norwegians have a church organized in 1870; they have a membership of fifty-four, hold their meetings in the school-house on Brushy, and are in a prosperous condition. Their pastor is the Rev. O. A. SAUER. There is a union society organized who hold their meetings at the school house near FRANCIS BREWER'S, and arc supplied once in four weeks by Bev. L. S. COFFIN, a self-supporting missionary. The Methodist Episcopals organized a church here in 1851, and for a long time it was the leading church in the county. The members have moved away and the church to-day has no permanent pastor.


HARDIN.

HARDIN township as organized in August 1853, contained all the territory in township 86, in the county. It was named by the County Judge in honor of JOSEPH HARDIN, who settled in 1810, on section 21, township 85, range 27, and subsequently built the large hotel at Hook's Point. The boundaries of the town were subsequently changed by the formation of new townships, and now it embraces all of township 80, north of range 27, east of the Des Moines river. The oldest settler of this town, now there, is ANDREW JOHNSON. The first death was that of a child of Rev. JOHN LINN, in October 1850. The first birth was a daughter to the same gentle- man. Tins event occurred on the 4th day of January, 1851. The first school taught in the township was in the summer of 1854. This was then District No. 1, and the amount of public money paid by the School Fund Commissioner was $18 72. There are now two school-houses in the township, two hundred and two scholars between the ages of five to twenty-one, and one. hundred and sixty-nine enrolled in tlie schools.

In the summer of 1854, the Bev. Mr. SMITH of Fairfield, Iowa organized the first Swčed Meth- odist church with thirty members. They have, a large society, and are building a meeting-house to cost 84,000. In the fall of 1854, the Rev. Mr. HOKANW* organized a Sweed Lutheran Church j) witli ten members. They now have a good meeting-house which cost .$l,ooo, and a member- ship of twenty-six. In 1856, the Sweed Baptists organized with eighteen members and soon after engaged the Rev. Mr. FISK. Their meeting house is in Hamilton county. The society is in a prosperous condition.

There is a steam saw-mill in Hardin.


WEBSTER.

WEBSTER township originally embraced all the territory in township 87, in Webster and Hamilton counties. After the division of the counties Ín 1857, the County Court ordered the township re-organized, to contain all that part of township 87, north of range 27, east of the Des Moines river, On the first Monday In April, 1857, the township was organized and the election held on that day at DANIEL DANIELS'. The first settler in this township was Loudowic MARICLE, who settled on the farm where he now resides In 1848.

The first school was private, taught In 1852, by the Hou. K. W. W. ALCORN, in a small house on section 13. There are now five school-houses, with two hundred and five scholars attending, and two hundred and thirty-three between the ages of five and twenty-one.

The first church organized was by the Itcv. J. B. MONTGOMERY, Me Thedist Episcopal, in 1852, at the house of WILLIAM PIERCE. Tins church was subsequently moved to Homer, after that town was located, and tlie society have now a good house of worship.


WAHKONSA.

WAHKONSA township was organized on tlie 3d day of March, 1E00, and its boundaries as then fixed by the County Court were as follows: Commencing at the northwest corner of the County of Webster, thence east on said county line to tlie range line between ranges 20 and 27, thence south on range line to the correction line, thence east on correction line and south on range line to the northeast corner of section 12, township 88, range 21 thence west lo the Des Moines river, thence down said river to the south line of section 8, township 88, range 28, thence west to the county line, thence nor'h to the place of beginning, containing lour hundred and seventy square miles of land.

The first election was held on the first Monday In April i860, in the old log school-house built by the government. At this election, A. M. DAWLEY was chosen for Justice of the Peace and H. F. WATSON for Constable. WATSON subsequently resigned, and CHARLES B. RICHARDS, acting County Judge, appointed E. H. ALHEE to fill the vacancy. At tins election the people at Homer determined to play a joke on our townsman, Hon. JOHN F. DUNCOMBE, by casting several votes for him for Coroner, taking care, however, to elect Rev. JOHN JOHNS, an itinerant preacher, who lived upon the west bank of the Des Moines river, near Border Plains. This reverend gentleman could shoot a bear, hunt a bee tree or preach, and perform either task with the same ability.

The township of Wahkonsa was named in honor of a young Indian chief of that name, a son of the old chief INK-A-PA-DO-TA. He was a very handsome and intelligent youth, and frequently visited Fort Dodge. In the winter of 1854-56. he, with his sister and others, came to town and camped at night on the ground floor of the old hotel bearing his name. In the morning, Ex-Governor CURTIS C. CARPENTER came into the office, when the Indian belle broke out into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. Those present tried to ascertain the cause of her mirth. For answer, she pointed at the head of the honorable gentleman, and exclaimed: Hedgehog ! hedgehog !" the Governor, who was then a young man and a teacher, wore his hair quite short, and it had assumed a position at rigid angles with his pericranium, hence the hilarity of the Indian princess, and her rather inelegant comparison, Mr. CARPENTER enjoyed her amusement as well as any one present.

The first settler m the present township of Wahkonsa outside of tlie city, now here, was Mrs. GEO. H. KOUERH. This township is now In the Independent School District of Fort Dodge.

The first sermon preached was by the Bev. J. B. MONTGOMERY in 1851. In 1852 he formed a society and held meetings. This circuit at that time extended from below Polk City to Fort Dodge. Father MONTGOMERY is now residing in Boonsboro, near ninety years of age, with mental faculties well preserved, and he still remembers with pleasure his long and lonesome rides over his seventy-five mile circuit, and the hospitality which the early settlers showed to him on all occasions. From this time the history of Wahkonsa township is that of Fort Dodge.


YELL.

YELL township was organized March 3d, 1850, by an order of tlie County Court. Its original territory embraced all of townships 86 and 87, north of ranges numbers 27, 28, 29 and 30, west of the Des Moines river. The first settler in tills township after HENKY LOTT, was Squire MnGuuiE, who now resides in section 15, town. 87, range 27. This township received the original name of the county. The first election was held at the house of STEPHEN STARK, on the first Monday in April, 1856. The first school was organized in 1856, and Mrs. ELI S. GEYEK taught thirty scholars. There are now one hunnred and fifty-two scholars in the township. ElderSPARK organized a Baptist church in Yell in 1850. They still keep up a society, have no stated supply, and report but twenty-nine members. Several years ago, the society built a meeting-house, which is near the center of tlie township. No Sunday schools reported. GRAN- VILLE BERKLEY says he found HENRY LOTT living in this township when he came up with Major OLMSTEAD to locate the] site fora fort, and stayed all night with him. At that time LOTT was thirty miles north of any settlement. The present boundaries of Yell township were established by the County Court, September 14th, 1858. They embrace all of town. 87, north of range 27, west of the Des Moines river. There is a steam saw-mill in this township, owned by LYNDE & ILES, and JOHN BEAM has one of the best veins of coal in the county.


DAYTON.

THIS township was organized September 14. 1858, by an order of the County Court, and the first election was held in the school-house at Dayton, the second Tuesday In October, 1858, The boundaries were originally all of township 86, range 28, and that part of township 86, range 27, west of the river, except sections 1, 2, and 3. The oldest settler in this township is ANDREW PETERSON, who settlled on section 34, township 86, range 27, in 1848. The first school-house built in Dayton was In 1857, and STEPHEN KELLEY taught eight scholars the same year. There are now eleven school-houses in the township, where schools are taught, and they average an attendance of four hundred scholars. There is one steam saw-mill. Dayton is the largest township in the county, and The second in population.


OTHO.

OTHO township was organized March 2d, 1857, and contained all of township 88, north of ranges 28 and 29, west, lying west of the Des Moines river. The first election was held at tlie house of NORMAN HARP, in April, 1857. In October, 1871, the Board of Supervisors set off township 8S, range 29, leaving the boundaries of the township at present, that part of township 88, north of range 28, west of the Des Moines river. The oldest settler In O The township, now there, is NORMAN H. HART, who came in tlie fall of 1853. The first school in this township was taught by Mrs. GEO. D. HART, in a small building, ten by twelve, on the northeast of northeast of section 23, in the summer of 1857. There are now four school-houses, with one hundred and twenty-two scholars enrolled, and one hundred and fifty-two scholars in The township between the ages of five and twenty-one.

The first Congregational church of Otho was organized by the Rev. T. N. SKINNER, the 13th of March, 1855, with five members. They now have eighty-two members. The society purchased, some years ago, five acres of land, upon which they have built a parsonage, valued at $1,600.

There are seven coal mines now being worked in this township, which give employment to seventy miners. There is one steam saw-mill In Otho, which is operated the greater portion of tlie year In cutting native lumber.

Spartan Lodge number 226, I. O. of O. F., located in the town of Otho, was organized June 20th, 18tn, by Deputy Grand Master J. W. ROPER. The first officers were, D. R. FULLER, N G.; S. D. ATHERTON, V. G.; E. W. SORBER, Treasurer; E. O. PARKHURST, R. S.; B. B. GOODRICH, P. S. The number of members at present belonging arc thirty-live. Deaths since the lodge was established, two—J. M. WILLIAMS and R. L. LEYSON. The present officers are W. K. GRAVES, N. G.; A. M. SMITH, V. G.; L. H. PRATT, Treasurer; D. R. FULLER, R. S.; J. L. FORD, P. S.

There is also a Rebekah Lodge, Virginia number 51, who hold their meetings in the same hall, and have a membership of thirty-two.

SUMNER.

SUMNER township was named in honor of the late CHARLES SUMNER, of Massachusetts. The boundaries remain now as when first organized. Sumner contains all of township 87, north of range 28, west of the Des Moines river. On tlie 2d day of March, 1857, the County Court of Webster county ordered an election to be held at the house of JAMES DOUGLAS, on the 6th day of April following. At this election thirty-one votes were cast. The first sehoo 1 taught in this township was in 1857, Mrs. E. V. MOORE, teacher. The first school-house in the township was erected in the village of Buchanan, in 1859. There are now eight school-houses, two hundred and thirty-three scholarsˇbetween the ages of five and twenty-one, and one hundred and lifty-six enrolled in the schools. In Sumner are located the celebrated Crook ed creek coal mines, which furnish employment to a large number of men. [For churches, secret societies, etc., see Vesper.]


DOUGLAS.
BY an order of the County Court, made on the 3d day of March, 1857, all of the territory lying hi townships 80 and 90, north of ranges 20 and 30, west of tlie Des Moines river, were formed into a township and named Douglas, in honor of STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS. The first election was held at the house of THOMAS JACKSON, on section 17, township 89, range 29, in April, 1857. Before September 20th, 1850, the Court ordered township 90, of ranges 20 and 30, formed into a township, thus leaving Douglas township 89, of ranges 29 and 30. On November 6th, i860, range 30 was taken from Douglas, leaving the township as it now is—all of township 89, north of range 29, and that part of sections 7,18, and 19, in township 89, range 23, west of the Des Moines river. The first settler in this township, now there, is LORENZOS. COFFIN, who bought his claim of E. H. ALBEE, In Januarv, 1855. The first school was taught In 1856, by Mrs. W. C. AINSWORTH. at the LUMPKINS' school-house. There are now seven school-houses in the township, and an average of one hundred and forty-seven scholars.


JACKSON.

THIS township was organized Sept. 20lh, 1850, hy an order of the Comity Board. Tlie terri- tory embraced was township 90, of ranges 29 and so. Tlie first election held in tlie township was at the house of KICHAHP P. FURLONG, October 11th, 1659. On Nov. 6th, I860, tlie County Court ordered township 00, range 29, set off and a township named Cass, formed of that territory, but the township of Cass was never organized. On the loth day of October, 1865, township 90, range 29, was, by an order of the Board of Supervisors, detached and named Deer Creek. Tlie first settler in Jackson township now there, was HUGH COLLINS. The first school taught in the township was in the summer of 1856, by Mrs. PETE» DONAHUE, In a log house on section 36. There are now three schools In the township and the number of scholars is one hundred and forty-one.

The first church organized In this township was St. Patrick's Ca Thelic church, which in 1871, completed a large house of worship on sections 19 and 30. This church has a membership of one hundred families, and the only meeting house in the township.

In 1870 a union Sabbath school was organized at Jackson Center, with a present member- ship of forty. Union service is also held In tlie school-house and Eev. L. S. COFFIN officiates.


JOHNSON.

THIS township embraces the congressional township of 80, north of range 30, and was organized November Gill, i860, by an order of the County Court. The first election was held at the house of WM. PRESTON. The first school held in the township was taught by Miss MARY J. STEVENS on section 2, in a claim cabin, and so careful was she of the settlers right's that she allowed his cook-stove and bed to remain in tlie room. This was in tlie summer of 1857. This township lias now five school-houses andan average attendance of one hundred and seventy- eight scholars. There are one hundred and ninety-four enrolled between theages of five and twenty-one. The first settler in this township was GEO, W. YOUNG, who settled where he now resides on section 1, in March 1855.

There was a Methodist Episcopal church organized in this township as early as 1860. They still have meetings, but many of the members having moved from the county, they are unable to sustain a pastor.


BADGER.

BADGER township was taken from Wahkonsa by an order of the Board of Supervisors, October loth, 1865, and when organized contained township 00, north of ranges 27 and 28, west, liange 27 was, October Hth, 1873, taken from Badger, and the present boundaries of the township are all oí township 90, north of range 28, west, and that part of township 90, north of range 29, lying east of the Des Moines river. The first settler in this township was STEPHEN MAHER, who settled on section 19, township so, range 28, in tlie spring of 1856. Tlie first school organized in the township was taught by Miss SUSAN CALLIGAN, in 1802, in the granary of M. MITCHELL. There are now seven school-houses in Badger, and one hundred and thirty- eight children between the ages of five and twenty-one, of which one hundred and thirty are enrolled in the schools. This township has a large supply of native timber, and the inhabitants are all farmers.


DEER GREEK.

THE township of DeTHE township of Deer Creek was organized by an order of the Board of Supervisors October 10th, 1865, and the first election was held at the LONG- school-house. At this election there were twenty-four votes cast, of which DANIEL W. PRINDLR received twenty-three for Supervisor. Deer Creek township embraces all of township 90 north of range 20, and that part of township 90, range 28, west of the Des Moines river. The first settler in this township was DANIEL W. PRINDLE, who built his cabin In March, 1855.

The first school was, taught by Miss HELEN GARDNER in a log cabin on section 26, In 1862. There are now four school-houses in Deer Creek, one hundred and thirty-one children between the ages of five and twenty-one, ninety-two of whom are enrolled in the schools. This township has a fine quarry of sand-stone, and several mineral springs.


FULTON.

THIS township embraces all of township 88 range 30. It was organized by an order of the Board of Supervisors, made In September, 1868, and the llrst election was held at the house of J. L. FRENCH, November 3d, 1308, at which time JOHN B. SCOTT was elected a member of the Board of Supervisors. The first settler in the township was W.M. CHASE, who resides on the north half of the northwest quarter of section 21, township 88, range 30. The first school- louse built and school taught, was in the year 1809, ou section 11, and Miss J. A. CHURCHILL was the teacher. There are now four school-houses in the township. Number of scholars between live and twenty-one years, eighty; number of voters in the township, 33.


LOST GROVE.

LOST Grove township was organized October istli, 1869, and embraces all the territory of township 86, north of range 29. The township received its name from the name of a grove which stood near The center of the township flfteasu. miles distant from any other timber. The first settler in this township was RALPH MITCHEL. Mrs. RALPH MITCHEL taught the first school in the township. There are now five school-houses, one hundred and two scholars attending school, and one hundred and twenty-seven between the ages of five and twenty-one. The first church organized in the township was the Swede Evangelical Lutheran, in 1871. They hold their meetings in the DANIELSON school-house and have a membership of one hundred anil nine. The Rev. C. J. HEMBORO, pastor. There Is a unicn Sunday school organ- ized, and nearly all The children in the township attend.


PLEASANT VALLEY.

PLEASANT Valley toPLEASANT Valley township was organized October 11th; 1870, with its present territory and township 89, range 27. November 5th, 1872. the Board of Supervisors set off township 89, range 27, leaving Pleasant Valley as it now is, containing only sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9,10, 11,11,15,16 and 17, township 88, range 28, and that part of section 1, township 88, range 29, east of the Des Moines river.

Pleasant Valley is the smallest township in the county and the richest so far as developed in mineral wealth. Here are found the extensive coal works of Messrs DUNCOMBE & RICHARDS, and the Fort Dodge Coal Company.

This township has the largest deposit of gypsum found in a body in Iowa! Messrs. RINGLAND, VINCENT & MESERVEY supply their large mill with gypsum from this township. This mill gives employment to a large number of men, and manufactures yearly over two Theusand tons of stucco and a like quantity of land plaster.

The first settler The first settler in the township was THOMAS HOLIDAY. The first school was taught by Miss CURTIS, in 1856. There are now three school-houses, and three hundred children between the ages of five and twenty-one, one hundred and forty-two of whom are enrolled in the schools. There is a post-office, (Coalville), and two stores, in Pleasant Valley.


ELKHORN.

THE town of Elk Horn was detached from O The by an order of the Board of Supervisors, October 10th, 1871, and the first election held. Elk Horn embraces all of government township 88, north of range 29, except a part of section 1, which is east of the river. The first school organized in this township was in 1858, and Mrs. GEO. D. HABT taught twelve scholars. There are now nine schools in the township, with an average of one hundred and fifty scholars. On the 4th of August, 1871, an Evangelical Lutheran church (Norwegian) was organized with eleven members. They now have one hundred and sixty-five members, and hold their meetings in the school-house. The Rev. O. A. SAUEB, pastor. The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in tills township in 1871. They hold their meetings in the TAI\FEB school-, house; have a membership of eighty-eight, and on every third Sunday in the month the Rev P. A. PIHLGBEN officiates.


GOWRIE.

THIS township was organized October loth, 1871, and embraces township 86, north of range 30, west. The first settler in the township, outside of the village of Gowrie, was JOHN STEINHOLM. There were no settlers in this township until the Des Moines & Fort Dodge railroad was built, and the village of Gowrie established. The township has but little history apart from the village. Quite a large emigration has come in during the past six months, and the township is settling up rapidly. There are two school-houses outside of the village, where schools arc taught.


COLFAX.

THIS township was THIS township was organized by an order of the Board of Supervisors, November 5th, 1872 and named after the Hon. SCHUYLEB COLFAX, The first election was held at the KELLEY schoo house. The first school was taught by Miss MAY KELTZ, in 1871, at her father's house. There are now four school-houses in the township, in which schools are taught. The number of scholars between the ages of five and twenty-one Is one hundred and ten. There are today thirty-eight families and forty-nine voters in the township. ROBEBT WOOD is President of the School Board. This township is well watered, and is one of the finest in the county for raising stock. The first settler in the township was HENBY E. KELLEY. This township comprises township 89, north of range 27, west.


CLAY.

CLAY township was organized November 6th, 1872, by an order of the Board of Supervisors, and the first election held at the house of SAMUEL ATHEHTON. This township embraces the congressional township of 87, north of range 20, west, and was named in honor of the illustrious orator and statesman, the gallant HENRY CLAY-. The first settler in this township was FRANK B. DRAKE, In the fall of 1867. The first school taught was by LUTHER W. HULBARD. In the winters of 1871 and 1872, he had a class of twelve scholars. There are now three school-houses in the township, with an average attendance of sixty-two scholars. In 1872 a Sabbath school was organized, which is in a prosperous condition, and In the fall of 1875 the Me Thedist Episeopals organized with seven members. This township is all prairie, and well adapted to grazing. There are now forty-six families residing in the township.


NEWARK.

NEWARK township was organized October 14th, 1873, and embraces all the territory in township 90, north of range 27, west. The oldest settler in this township, now there, is Mr. JOHN TETERS. He came from Newark, Ohio, and therefore prevailed upon the Board of Supervisors to name the township Newark in honor of his native town. The present number of scholars in the township attending school is thirty-nine; number in the township between five and twenty- one, forty-eight. There are two school-houses in the township.


ROLAND.

ROLAND township was the last township organized in the county. It embraces township 87, north of range 30, west, and was organized by an order of the Board of Supervisors, October 12th, 1875. The first settlor in this township was O. O. MYRBOC, who settled on the southeast quarter of section 12, In the fall of 1870. Miss HELEN COOK taught the first school In the summer of 1875. There is but one school-house In the township. The township now has thirty- one dwelling houses. Kesho is the post-office, and has a daily mail.


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