Nathan Edward Goldthwait.

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may be noted as a man of considerable ability. He was a graduate
of DePauw University of Greencastle, Indiana. He was a minister
of the Methodist Episcopal Church and an able speaker. After
leaving Boone County he located in Southwestern Iowa, where he was
chosen a presiding elder at least one term. Later on he moved to
Indianola, where the title of LL. D. was conferred upon him by
Simpson College. Mr. Martin was also a prominent teacher, having
taught about fifty terms.

Another citizen of prominence who was called upon to serve as
a member of the Legislature was W. L. DeFore. He was elected in
1873 and he took an active part in securing the Granger legislation
of 1874, about which so much has been said and written.

One of the most singular formations of land to be found anv-
where in Central Iowa is that range of hills and bluff's known as the
Mineral Ridge. It extends across the north end of Dodge Township.,
The elevations and peaks of this ridge are high above all the sur-
rounding country. They present a striking appearance. The early
surveyors could not get the needles of their compasses to work upon
this ridge. They said there were deposits of iron beneath the ridge
and so they named it Mineral Ridge.


Two towns have been laid out in Dodge Township. One of
these is Ridgeport, situated near the summit of the Mineral Ridge.
It was laid out in May, 1854, by John Ridpath and Absolom Kelley
and is located on section 18, township 85, range 26. A postofTice was
established the same year and J. F. Alexander was appointed post-
master. Ridgeport has never put on much of a growth and its
population will not now exceed one hundred people. It has one
general store, operated by Mr. Condon, one blacksmith and wood-
work shop, two churches and a number of good residences.


The oldest chureli in ilie village is of the Baptist denomination,
organized in 1853, with a membership of sixteen. A brick church
was erected in 1869, at a cost of $2,300. Their present membership
is said to be seventv-live. They liave a good Sunday school. Rev.
William Sparks, of Marcy Township, was the minister who organ-
ized this church. The other church is of the Methodist Episcopal
denomination, which was organized in 1866. The charter members
were H. Condon, D. Sterrett and wife, Lorenzo Skinner and W. C.
Martin and wife. With this small beginning the number has in-
creased until it has now reached about fifty. They have a frame
church of sufficient dimensions to accommodate the church and
Sunday school.

Of the old-time settlers who located in the early 'qos there remains
but one and this is Jonathan Bucchler, who is now ninety years of age.


The second town laid out in Dodge Township was Eraser. It
was platted September 21, 1S93, by the Eraser Coal Company, the
chief man being Hamilton Brown. Eraser is situated on the west
half of the southeast quarter of section 35 and on the southeast (juarter
of section 34, township 85, range 27. Much coal was taken out and
shipped from the Eraser mines, between the years 1894 and 191 2, a
period of eighteen years. The place was never anything but a mining
town and the population has been of the shifting kind, but it grew to
such proportions that according to the census of 1900 it had nearly
one thousand people. Ten years later, in 1910, the population had
fallen to a little over four hundred. It is claimed bv some that at
one time Eraser had a population of miners and floaters of 1,200
people, but such is not the case at the present time. The mines are
now worked out and nothing is being done. A visit to this town on
the 20th of June, 1914, found the population reduced to less than
three hundred. Half the buildings, both business and residences,
were empty. There is still a store of three departments, one for
groceries, one for clothing, and one for boots and shoes; a hardware
store, a billiard hall and a barber shop; but the hotels, boarding
houses and restaurants have all closed. The streets have never been
graded and no sidewalks have been made and the town is anything
but inviting.

Eraser still has a schoolhouse of four departments, and for a
number of years they were all used. At present onh two of them


are needed. There are two church buildings in the place, but the
membership is much reduced. One of these is of the Methodist
Episcopal denomination and the other is, or rather was, a colored
church. Since the mines are worked out the members have all left
but one, and he is the minister. He still preaches to a small gather-
ing of white people who, out of courtesy, go to hear him. They say
he is a very good man and has the respect and confidence of all his

It will not be long until the houses of Eraser will be sold, torn
down and hauled away. That part of Eraser which is on the west
side of the river in Yell Township is in a more prosperous condition
than that on the east side, but it is only a small part of the town.
There are two industries on that side. One of these is the tile factory
which employs about forty hands. The other is a pumping machine,
which takes up sand and water from the river bed. In the process
the sand is separated from the water and conveyed into a receptacle,
while the water flows into the river again. Much of this river-bed
sand is used in the tile factory, and during the cement season an
average of about eight carloads per day of it are shipped to other

The names of those who enlisted in the Union army during the
Civil war were, as near as can be ascertained, as follows: Samuel
Coe, James W. Higby, G. S. Stark, J. E. Alexander, W. S. DeEore,
H. P. Coe, George Huxford, John W. Harris, A. Shafer, Philip
Zim.,leman, Robert Royster, W. L. DeEore, Joseph Bone, Samuel
Bone, Edward Eckley, Tyler Higby, Thomas Kelley, J. L. Starr,
Edgar Starr, John Segrin, Martin V. Huxford, Thomas Dawkins,.
Nelson Stark, A. T. Silver, Jesse Stark, William Wilson, B. F.

The following are the names of those who served in the JN'orth
Border Brigade: Eranklin Richardson, Joseph Landen, F. M. Nich-
olson, S. S. Payne, Columbus Richardson, William Wilson, H. M.
Lucas, Robert Musgrove. All of these were citizens of Dodge Town-
ship but S. S. Payne and H. M. Lucas, who were citizens of Worth

The sketch of Dodge Township would be incomplete without
mention of Hon. C. J. A. Ericson. He came to Ridgeport and
npened a store in March, i860. His stock was very small when he
commenced, but his prosperity was so rapid that at the end of ten
years he had a large store and did a good business. At that date he
was persuaded, rather against his will, to purchase the store of Hon.


Jackson Orr, in Boone, who had received the nomination for Con-
gress. .Mr. Ericson then moved to Boone and took, charge of the
store purchased there, but the respect and good will of all the people
of Dodge Township followed him. His banking and official careers
commenced after he moved to Boone.

According to the census of 19 lo the population of Dodge Town-
ship, independent of the Town of P^-aser, was 1,13c;.

'I"he ttnvnship officers at the present time are as follows:
Trustees, Herman Lindmark, [ohn Schmidt and Robert .Mc\'icker;
assessor, T. ]. Ridpath; clerk, j. F. Condon; justice of the peace,
G. V. Mavf^eld.


Jackson Township is bounded on the west by Des Moines Town-
ship, on the south by Colfax Township, on the east by Story County,
and on the north bv Harrison Township. It contains a full con-
gressional township. At the time of the organization of the county,
in 1849, the south two-thirds of the present Township of Jackson
was included in Boone Township, and the north one-third was in-
cluded in Boone River Township. This division of the township
continued until March 8, 1852, at which date Boone River Town-
ship was discontinued. The boundaries of Boone and Pleasant town-
ships were changed and the Townships of Berry, Yell and Dodge
were organized.

In the changes of this date the two tiers of sections on the north
side of the present Township of Jackson, which were formerly con-
tained in Boone River Township, were equally divided between
Dodge and Boone townships. The north tier was included in the
new Township of Dodge and the second tier from the north was
annexed to Boone Township. These changes were all made in
March, 1852, by County Judge S. B. McCall.

Five years later, in 1857, Jackson Township was established and
named by County Judge J. B. Montgomery. At this date it con-
tained all of the territory within its present boundaries and all that
of the present Township of Harrison. Within these boundaries it
continued until 1871, when it was reduced to its present boundaries.
Thus we see that this township was in process of formation for
twenty-two years. Judge Montgomery was an admirer of General
Jackson and this accounts for the name of the township.

The first settlers of Jackson Township were the families of Milan
and William Zenor, who located in Section 12, in the spring of 1851.
They came from Clay County, Indiana. They settled in the edge
of the beautiful belt of timber along Squaw Fork, a tributary of the
Skunk River. The next year John Mitchell and Thomas Eads also
settled in Section 12.

Vol I— 1 4



In 1855 Amos l^lunk, Moses Blunk, Charles Weston, King
Weston, Henry Latham, Andrew Houghton, John Lundy, Samuel
Musgrove and Charles Hunt all settled in the northeast part of the
township, near the little stream above named.

These people made up a school district, and in 1S156 the first
schoolhouse in the township was erected. The work of construction
was performed by Milan Zenor and William Bell. The first school
was taught by William Bell, which was a three months' term, and
for which he received a compensation of $55 for the term. At the
close of this school term Mr. Bell returned to Ohio.

The first township officers elected 'in the township were:
Trustees, Milan Zenor, John Lundy and Samuel Musgrove; clerk,
Charles Hunt; assessor, John Mitchell. The first official meeting c)f
the board of trustees was held at the house of Thomas Eads.

The (irst birth in the township was that of Sarah Zenor, a daughter
of Milan and Amanda Zenor, which occurred in 18^3.

The hrst death was that of Mary ). Zenor, which occurred in

The Hrst marriage in Jackson Township was in 1855. This was
the marriage of Michael Zenor and Amanda Zenor, a daughter of
William Zenor, both of whom were natives of Indiana. The mar-
riage ceremony was performed by Judge J. B. Montgomery, who
was also a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The first religious services in the township were held at the house
of Milan Zenor and were conducted bv Rev. Willis Reynolds, a
United Brethren minister. Reverend Reynolds was the means of
doing much good in the early settlement of Jackson Township.

The Hrst physicians to attend to the wants of the people in Jack-
son Township were Doctor Mathews, of I'olk City, and Dr. M A.
Parr, of Boonesboro.

The Hrst road running from the first settlement in Jackson Town-
ship to the county seat was not located with any regard to section
lines, the object being to shun all the ponds and travel (Jn the high

I he second settlement in Jackson Township commenced in the
fall of 1 854. At that time John Dinwiddie, Joseph Dicas, William
Beard and (Jeorge Beard settled in Section 31. About the same time
William Harmon, Lafayette Harmon and Isaac Harmon settled near
where Jordan Station is now located. In fact, the station is on the
farm owned bv William Harmon.


The first settlers ol jackscjii eiicoiiiitereil niany of the liardships
and privations that the other pioneer settlers of the county did. They
had to go a loni^ distance to find mills to manufacture their grain
into bread stuff, and they had to haul their fuel and other supplies a
long distance. It took work, patience and suffering to withstand the
hardships that existed before the building of good mills in the county
and before the coming of railroad transportation.

The settlement of the township was not very rapid until the
Chicago & Northwestern Railroad was built. After this home-
seekers came and in a short time every acre was placed under culti-
\at'on or in pasture. The soil is very fertile and it produces good
crops of all kinds. The farmers of this township are industrious
and energetic and their homes are nice and inviting. From an ex-
panse of wild land in 1853 it has been changed to a block of nice
and fertile farms.

With the exception of a small belt of timber along the Squaw
Fork, in Sections i and 12, there was no native timber in the town-
ship at the time the first settlement was made.

The Chicago & Northwestern Railroad was built across the south
end of the township in 1864 and 1865. There is one station on the
line in the township. It was first called Harmon's Switch, but
since then a small town has grown up under the name of Jordan,
which will be more fully mentioned further on. The Newton &
Northwestern runs across the extreme southwest corner of the

The streams of this township are the Squaw Fork and Onion
Creek. A short sketch of these streams will be found in another
part of this work.

From the humble little schoolhouse built in Section 12 by Milan
Zenor and William Bell in 1856, Jackson Township now has nine
good schoolhouses in good repair, in each of which eight months of
school is taught every year. This is a glowing proof that the people
of Jackson are friends of progress and education.

The lay of Jackson Township is generally level, with here and
there rises and slopes; but none interfere with the cultivation of
land except a small acreage along the breaks of the Squaw Fork.

The territory contained in the present Township of Jackson was
surveyed into two sections in 1847 by Thomas Harley, deputy sur-
veyor, and certified to by Henry A. Wilse, surveyor general, at
Dubuque, Iowa.


In tlic assessment of Boone 7^)\vnship in 18^3, which inciudcii
all of the present Township of Jackson except the north tier of sec-
tions, there were only two citizens then residing within its present
boundaries assessed. These were Milan and William Zenor. Milan
Zenor gave to the assessor the east half of the northeast quarter of
Section 13, 'I'ownship 84, Range 25, valued at $240, and the south-
east (]uarter of the southeast quarter of Section 12, T(nvnship 84,
Range 25, valued at $60. William Zenor gave the southeast quarter
of the southeast (]uarter oi Section 12, Township 84, Range 21;.
valued at $\nn, and the northeast ijuarter of the southeast quarter of
Section 12, lOwnship 84, Range 25, valued at $100. These assess-
ments of lands were very moderate when compared with the present
assessments of lands. We may state with certainty that this 200 acres
of land was all that had passed from the Government in the present
bounds of Jackson Township when this assessment was made in the
spring of 1853. All the other lands in the township were then
subject to entry at $1.25 per acre.

Mitchell's Grove Cemetery was laid out in i8c;4, and is still in use.

Sparsely settled as the township was during the Civil war, ten
of its young and middle-aged men volunteered their services and
went to the front to sustain the union of the states. The names of
those who did so were as follows: William K. Atkison, James Atki-
son, .Moses Blunk. James Eads, Malen Madden, Isaac Stine, Robert
Atkison, John Atkison, Samuel Blunk, Amos Blunk and Isaac

Rut few crimes have been committed bv the citizens of Jackson
Township. 'I'he records of the criminal dockets of the county con-
tain but little in the way of criminal charges against anv of them.
In 1877 a criminal assault was made upon a nice and respectable
young lady nametl Duckworth bv two tramps, who approached her
while she was picking wild strawberries. This young hulv li\ed
with her father and mother in the southeast part of the township.
The tramps fled after the Hendish assault was made. Diligent search
was made and one of them was captured, indicted, tried, convicted
and sent to the penitentiary.

In 1879 a miner in one of the coal camps near Zenorville was
killed in a drunken row. The name of the man who committed the
crime was Ed Curran. He was sent to the penitentiary at Anamosa
for a term ol years, \^'hile working on a house there he fell and
broke his neck.


Hie winter of 1856-57 tried the patience of the few settlers of
Jackson Township. It was a winter of very deep snow and exces-
sively cold weather. All the settlers in the township, except those
who lived near the little belt of timber on the Squaw Fork, had
to haul their firewood from five to ten miles through the deep and
drifted snow. There were no coal mines developed in this part of
the state at that time and no transportation system to bring coal to
them from other parts, and for these reasons the settlers had to use
wood for fuel. The houses were crudely built and it took much
fuel to keep them warm. It took the work of a man and a team to
keep a house supplied with firewood during that long, cold winter.
There were many cases of frozen feet, hands, ears and noses. It
was a winter that none of the settlers in the township, or for that
matter any of the townships, ever became forgetful of. One morning
before daylight during that awful winter, John Dinwiddie heard a
man at his cabin door piteously begging for admission. He arose
from his bed, opened the door and let the man in. Fuel was placed
upon the fire and soon the little cabin was warm. The man sat down
in front of the fire and soon was fast asleep. It took him about four
hours to again return to consciousness. He had started on the day
before to w^alk across the prairie from the Squaw Fork to Boones-
boro. The traveling was so bad that he became belated and lost and
wandered around until his strength was exhausted and his limbs and
body were benumbed with the cold. It was very fortunate that he
succeeded in reaching Mr. Dinwiddie's house as soon as he did,
for if he had remained out another hour his doom would have been
sealed. It took him until noon to get fully warmed up and then,
with the aid of a hearty meal, he went on his way rejoicing. Mr.
Dinwiddie's house was located in Section 31, in the southeast corner
of Jackson Township, and at that time was the farthest house east
on the line running into Ontario.

According to the census of 1910 the population of Jackson Town-
ship was 874; in 1900, 928; and in 1890, 1,041. This decrease was
caused by the decline of the mining population at Zenorville, of
which more will be said farther on.

In 1857 an effort was made to establish an agricultural society
in Boone Countv. A meeting was held at the courthouse in Boones-
boro, at which a committee of five persons was appointed from each
township to perfect the organization. The names of those appointed
for Jackson Township were as follows: John Mitchell, Andrew
Haughton, R. M. Madden, Milan Zenor and William Blunk.


Jackson IDwiisliip never had a town plattcil within its borders.
None of its citizens ever became enthused with the belief that a
town could be made to j^row and prosper within its borders. Not-
\\ itlistanding this, two villages have grown up of their own accord
in the township. One of these is Jordan, on the Chicago & North-
western Railroad, and located on Section 32, Township 84, Range 25,
about midway between Br)one and Ontario. The place was first
called Midway, then Harmon's Switch, but was finally changed to
Jordan. It contains a postoffice, one store, one blacksmith shop, a
grain elevator, a number of residences and a population of about
one hundred. Much grain and stock are bought and shipped from
this point to Chicago. Jordan is situated in a country unsurpassed
in beauty and fertility. It was never platted. The land on which it
is situated is a part of the William Harmon Farm, which that gentle-
man settled upon in the spring of 1855.

The other village above mentioned was Zenorville, situated on
Section 12, Township 84, Range 25. About midway in the '70s it
was discovered that coal in considerable quantity was deposited under
the surface of the section above mentioned. Mining operations soon
started, so that from 1876 to 1890 considerable coal was mined. In
1880 the report of the inspector of mines stated that there were three
mines in operation at Zenorville. The J. Clemens Mine employed
50 men; the Hutchinson Brothers Mine, 35; and the Joseph York
Mine, 8 men, making 93 men employed. The same report says
that the vein of coal at each of these mines was four feet, two inches
thick. The houses it took for these men and their families to live
in made up a village of about four hundred people. There were
at one time a store, a postofiice, a blacksmith shop, a meat market
and a few other little places of business, one church and a school-
house. Finally the coal was worked out, the mining ceased, the
miners left for other places of employment and Zenorville was no
more. Gradually the houses and shanties were sold and moved away
until they were all gone. Where the village stood and where the mines
were operated the ground is now under cultivation, leaving nt) trace
of the village that once stood there. Verily the change is wonderful.
The Zenorville church and schoolhouse have been moved out to the
west upon a public highway and are still in a flourishing condition.
The church is of the Evangelical order. It has a good number of
members and a well attended Sunday school. The minister who
has charge of the work at this place lives at Story City. This is the
only church in Jackson Township.


Jackson Township has been rather fortunate in the number of
her citizens who have hehi county offices. These arc as follows:
Charles Weston held the office of county supervisor from 1861 to
1865, and the office of clerk of the District Court from 1866 to 1868.
Mr. Criswell held the office of county supervisor one or two terms.
V. O. Holcomb held the same office two terms. S. P. Zenor held
the office of sherifif one term. Archie Patterson held the office of
county auditor two terms. Mr. Jones held the same office two terms,
and R. R. Cobb held the office of county superintendent three terms.
This is enough to satisfy the aspirations of any township.

The present township officers are as follows: Assessor, S. H.
Sadoris; clerk, George L. Dix; trustees, Fred Pohl, M. Schlegel
and Arthur Wills.


Douglas Township officially received its present name March 8,
1858. It contains about one-half of a civil township. Elk. Rapids
and Madrid, the two oldest towns in the county, were laid out within
its boundaries. The first of these has passed out of existence, but
the latter is in a flourishing condition. Charles W. Gaston was the
first settler in Douglas Township and also the first one in the county.
This is a distinction which no other township in the county can claim.

Charles W. Gaston was a native of the State of Pennsylvania,
and in 1833, when the call was made for volunteers to make up the
First Regiment of United States Dragoons, he enlisted and became
a member of Company I of that regiment, under command of Capt.
Jesse B. Browne. In 1834 Companies B, H and I were sent from
Fort Gibson with orders to occupy a new fort, built that year, in Lee
County, Iowa, where the Town of Montrose now stands. This was
named Fort Des Moines and was the first one of the three forts of
that name built in Iowa. Mr. Gaston was with Company I in the
famous expedition to Wabasha's Village in 1835. One of the camps
of this company, on that famous march, was about six miles south-
west of Colfax, in Jasper County. This camp was named Camp
Gaston in honor of our first settler. When his term of service ex-
pired, he located at Hannibal, Missouri, where he was married. His
wife died about five years after their marriage. The next thing we
hear of him is on January 12, 1846, when he became the first settler
of Boone County. In the year 1849 Mr. Gaston was married to
Anna C. Dalander, his second venture on the sea of matrimony, and
to them was born a son, who died before reaching the age of man-
hood. Later in life, after the death of his second wife, Mr. Gaston

Online LibraryNathan Edward GoldthwaitHistory of Boone County, Iowa (Volume 1) → online text (page 20 of 49)