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Homer Howard Field.

History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) online

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Field and S. M. B. Wheeler, trustees. It is a full congressional township,
and bounded on the north by ('enter. east by Waveland, west by Macedonia
and Carson townships, ami south by Montgomery county. It is watered by
Jordan, Farm and Indian creeks, all flowing south, and are fed by springs
that never dry.

Long before this township had been organized or a permanent settler

located trails were made by the Mori is while on their pilgrimage, and these

became the roads of the pioneers that followed.

In 1848 the following named men came in over the old .Mormon trail
from Illinois, viz.: James Watson, came with ox team-; George Owen,
drove both horses and oxen; George Taylor, came with ox teams. These
brought their families with them and were soon followed by many others.

The first sawmill in the town-hip was built and owned by John Smith
in 1853, and was located on Farm creek. This mill was washed away dur-
ing a freshet and was rebuilt in 1856 by C. Hurley, St., and again washed
away. The next mill was built by -1. S. Watson about two miles below. In
1859 S. M. B. Wheeler built a mill on Jordan creek. These were all saw-
mills, and the settlers were compelled to go to the old Indian mill near Council
Bluffs or to Meeks' mill on Rock creek in Missouri, and at times when the
roads were impassable they resorted to pounded corn. Roads were gradually
being opened and soon enterprising citizen- established mills. The first
bridge was over Jordan, on the Mormon trail. In 1850 the -ettlers became 30
numerous that they began to talk of schools, and they employed a Dr.
Williams to teach a school in one room in the residence of Jacob Anderson.
This proved so satisfactory that a second term was taught by a Mr. John Day
in a little log cabin near the residence of S. M. B. Wheeler. The first building
erected in the township for school purposes was located forty rods north of
the center of section 20. It was built of logs with puncheon floors and seats.
This was built in 1855 and used for a number of years. In 1865 the next
schoolhouse was built, being located in the .southeast corner of the southwest



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 197

quarter of section 21, and for a time was used by the children of the entire
township until 1868, when the township was divided into three subdistricts.
From this modest beginning the schools continued to grow until, in 1881,
when there were nine subdistricts with eight ungraded schools. Number of
months taught, five and one-half; teachers employed, male five, female ten;
compensation per month, males $30.86, females $29.70; pupils of school age,
males one hundred and seventy-five, females one hundred and sixty.

Many of these early settlers left Nauvoo intending to go to Utah, but
for one reason or another they paused here and finally concluded to remain
and few. if any, have had cause to regret it. The first to organize a religious
body in the township were the Latter Day Saint.-. E. W. Briggs and YV.
W. Blair were the organizers, and the original members were John Smith
and wife, E. W. Knapp and wife. A. J. Field and wife, James Otto and wife,
Levi Graybill and wife, John Winegar and wife, Joseph Smith and wife, and
Stephen Smith. John Smith was their first president and E. W. Knapp (lie
first clerk. Services were first held at residences of the different members
and later at schoolhouses, but the society becoming more numerous and
wealthy, in 1874 they erected a modest church building at a cost of *7:>:;.
The membership bad increased until in 1881 it had reached ninety and
maintained a regular Sabbath school.

The "Wheeler's Grove das,- of the M. 1'. church was organized in L865
by its original member-, among whom were Isaac Denton and wife, Jacob
Elsweck, Alexander Osier and Susan A. Stedman. In 1875 they erected a
church building at a cost of $1,300, and by 1881 their membership was sixty
and their Sunday school was thirty-five.

Pleasant Grove congregation of the C. P. church was organized by the
Rev. J. W. Carter July 1, 1876, was received under the care of the West
Iowa Presbytery of the C. P. church August 18, 1876, with Rev. J. W.
Carter the first pastor. In 1879 they erected a church building at a cost of
$1,400.

The Christian church was organized by Rev. Cephas Ellis and Samuel
Johnson. Their first pastor was the Rev. Samuel Johnson.

In 1881 they commenced building a church at a cost of $1,200. They
had at that time a Sunday school of sixty pupils.

The village of Eminence was laid out in 1875 by L. D. Woodmansie,
who also was the first resident and also the postmaster, and in addition
started a general merchandising business. And the next to locate was Dr.
A. J. Michael, and he was followed by Malcom McKenzie, a blacksmith,
and next came J. L. Harrell. He engaged in the manufacture and sale of
harness, and later a general store was opened by F. E. and N. Pershall,
brothers.

September 30, 1863, Mrs. Isaac Denton gave birth to boy triplets, which
were named, William, Wallace and Willard. They lived but a short time.
On August 17, 1864, the same lady gave birth to twins, but they lived but
four and six hours respectively.

The most terrible cyclone that ever visited western Iowa -pent its most



198 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

destructive force on the devoted heads of the people of this township in which
in less time than it takes to record it an entire family was killed and
thousands of dollars' worth of property was destroyed. The details have
been given by the press and are too well remembered by the citizens to re-
quire repetition, but simply to say that strong well built houses and barns
were reduced to kindling, farming implements and domestic animals blown
out of sight, even fowls stripped of their feathers in an instant. The saddest
feature was the instantaneous killing of the family of Mr. Osier, Mrs. Paist
and son.

Long since the damage, so far as money value is concerned, has been
repaired, but the loss of the friends who perished cannot be forgotten.

According to the state census of 1905 there were in the township two
hundred and forty-two persons of school age, of which one hundred and
twenty-nine were males and one hundred and thirteen females.

The school board is constituted as follows: President, James K. Osier;
secretary, John A. Knox; treasurer. G. M. Putnam. Teachers' salary, $38
and $33.

The township officers are as follows: Trustees, L. A. King, J. A.
Mitchell and A. C. Bissbe; clerk, Thomas Morgan; justices of the peace,
Harvey Bolton and E. V. Winans; assessor, John A. Knox. No one qualified
as constable.

HAZEL DELL TOWNSHIP.

Mention has already been made of the division of Crescent township by
which Hazel Dell was formed. It is a full congressional township. It lies
mostly on high rolling upland, sloping easterly toward Mosquito and westerly
towards Pigeon creeks. There are fine groves of timber in the ravines and the
soil is as good as any in the world. Most of the first settlers were Mormons,
lint the larger part went on witli the great movement to Utah. The first officers
of the new township were: J. P. Boulden and James Osborn, trustees. Nearly
all the early history of this township i- identical with that of Crescent, but
it has become famous as being the hirthpl ice of Indian creek. This is probably
the most active stream on earth of its size. It rises in some springs near Hazel
Dell church, drains twenty square miles before reaching the city, when it has
to be spanned by as many bridges. Engineers have grappled with it for forty
years and it seems to relish the fun. It has not been an unmixed evil though,
for it has been bringing down millions of yards of earth to fill the low ground
at the foot of the bluffs without which the beautiful ground where Bayliss
park, the courthouse, library and much of the best property in the city, would
new be a morass like it is a mile either way from these points.

We will probably hear more of this stream in connection with the city
of Council Bluffs.

Hazel Dell! What prettier name could be found for a township? It of
itself is suggestive of rural happiness. It was fortunate in its first settlers,
being as good people as could be found anywhere. The Valliers, Nixons,
Greggs, Coopers, Kings, Barretts. Rev. Cooper. O'Brien, Halls. Bouldens, Trip-



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 199

lets. Springers, Osborns, McGraders, Frosts, Jenkins and many more of the
same sort; one would think they might be exempt from most of the troubles
with which other communities are afflicted, but it seems that the evil one
had long ago invaded a much happier though smaller one, and so this town-
ship, like most others in the county, must have its tragedies.

On the 26th of February, 1878, in the northwest corner of the town-
ship, the people were shocked by the killing of David Roberts by Jonathan
Jones. After a long and tedious trial Jones was acquitted on the plea of
emotional insanity caused by jealousy.

A long time previous to this an affair was pulled off that partook of the
nature of melodrama. There was a "fine old English gentleman" who was
a widower, had a farm in one of the beautiful dells, and a fine trotting horse
named Charley, of which he was very fond. He dressed well, was seventy,
and still was not happy. He longed for a companion, and he found one
about half his age, and all for a time went well. He was wont to extol her
many virtues to his friends in town when he met them. In fact he found her
superior to either of his former wives (this was the third) and one fine morn-
ing he started to go to look at some land at quite a distance, but promised
to return for supper, and she kissed him good-bye and put her arms around
Charley's glossy neck and kissed him.

Someone once said "Frailty, thy name is woman 1" When that old
gentleman returned he found his house a desolation! The finest of the bed-
ding, all of the silver, china and glassware that had been his former wife's,
had disappeared as effectually as if the earth had opened and swallowed them
up.

All his efforts to locate her were fruitless, but after some weeks it was
reported she was half way to Salt Lake with a younger man and former lover.

Another tragedy occurred more recently in the extreme southeastern
part of the township. It appeared that a store at Weston had been robbed.
Deputy-sheriff J. C." Baker was investigating the matter, and on questioning
a young man named George Matheson pretty closely, he became indignant
and shot Baker. He was indicted and tried for assault with intent to commit
murder and found guilty, but appealed and cause was sent back on error in
ruling. On rehearing he was convicted of assault with intent to inflict great
bodily injury. In a civil action Baker recovered a heavy judgment. It seems
but proper to make special mention of old Mrs. Nixon, the Spartan mother long-
since deceased, that sent three sons and three sons-in-law to the Union army.

During the winter of 1855-56 an old settler, Mr. Barrett, father of 0. L.
Barrett,' superintendent of the county infirmary, became lost and was frozen
to death, but his widow conducted the farm and reared the family. At this
time the people of Hazel Dell will compare favorably with those of any town-
ship in the county.

Its present officers are as follows: Trustees, Hans Henningson, R. M.
Hough and Geo. T. Ford; clerk, Wm. Nixon; justices of the peace, T. F.
Emmerson and R. T. Hanson; assessor, S. D. Hough; constable, Harry
Shroder; board of education, president, C. J. Christofferson ; secretary, Wm.
Nixon; treasurer, J. H. Gregg. According to state census of 1905 there are



200 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

three hundred and eighty-two of school age in the township, one hundred and
ninety-three males and one hundred and eighty-nine females in eight sub-
districts.

This township is only touched by railroad- on the extreme southeast
corner, where the Rock Island and Milwaukee running parallel strike the
village of Weston. This place has an elevator, lumber yard, general store,
one church (Catholic) and a graded school. The teachers receive $40 and
$35 respectively for first and second grades.

Mr. Jacob Hansen is entitled to special mention, bavin- served the public
faithfully as supervisor and later on the joint commission of Harrison and
Pottawattamie counties to assess the benefits to the land owners by reason of
the construction of the several ditches petitioned for and granted by the joint
boards of said counties.

HARDIN TOWNSHIP.

Hardin township was organized in 1869. Previous to this it was a part
of Kane. It is a full congressional township, and is mostly high rolling
prairie but has some groves of natural timber. This township is named in
honor of Richard Hardin. He came to Council Bluffs with his father, Davis
Hardin and family, in I .s:-¬їS w hen a boy. Thai being the first white family this
far up the Missouri. The Hardin.- were typical Kentuckians. Tall, heavy
boned, fond of hunting, generous and liberal in all their views. Davis, the
father was sen! to take charge of the Pottawattamies, as will be more fully
treated in the part of this history pertaining to Council Bluffs. Keg creek,
Little Keg and Little Silver creeks are the principal streams, and the town-
ship is watered by springs

The first permanent settler was Mr. Eteece D. Price, who came from
Wales in 1849 and settled with a number of .Mormon families. There were
one cluster of thirteen log huts in one camp and another of eleven. In the
summer of 1850 these went on to Utah and left the family of Mr. Price entirely

alone. The rich lands, of which none are better, s attracted settlers, and

by 1858 quite a number of first-class citizens had located here. A ng them

were Mrs. Perry and family. R. C. Thomas and family and Mr. W. K. Eames
from Vermont, in 1857. and from this time on they continued to arrive, and
soon a school was .-tailed. The first ever taught in the township was by Mr.
Lorenzo Burr in 1857. He was employe. 1 l.\ Mr. Reece D. Price, and the
school was in a log cabin belonging to him.

The first bridges built were over Keg creek at the Hardin stage station
and Weasel Run. Both are built of logs. The first road was the old stage road,
running from Des Moines to Council Bluffs, and the Western Stage Co. did a
great business until the coming of the railroads.

The Methodists organized a little society as early as L880, also quite a
large Sunday school. The first schoolhouse built by the township was on
section 18, near the residence of Mr. .lame- Wild. The first to teach in the
new building was an English priest by the name of Middleton.

From this modest beginning the schools had increased to the extent that
in 1881 there were five subdistricts. Number of teachers, male-, two. females.



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 201

seven. Salary per month, both sexes, $30; number of pupils, males, one hun-
dred and two, females, eighty-two.

Schoolhouses, frame, four; brick, one; value $1,500.
Since 1881 these have increased to nine in 1905 with three hundred and
six persons, including those of the new town of McClelland, between the ages
of five and twenty-one tears. The Chicago & Great Western Railroad i j
the only one that passes through this township. It was completed in 1903,
and immediately the new town of McClelland sprang into existence and at
this writing there are a lumber yard, depot buildings, three general stores,
one drug store, one implement and hardware store, two saloons, a livery stable
and blacksmith shop and one elevator.

The Methodists have organized a church and erected a neat house of
worship.

Mr. Pete Cramer is engaged in buying and shipping stock.
The county infirmary is also located here under the superintendence of
O. L. Barrett.

Among those who, by industry and integrity, have made themselves prom-
inent are D. F. Dryden and Elias Quick, the former being a farmer and
large stock raiser. He was for a time a member of the board of supervisors,
and is an ex-soldier of the civil war. The latter started a store in 1883, and a
postofhce was established at his store in 1884, and named Quick postoffice.

Few merchants have been as fortunate as he. Starting in with a moderate
stock, every one of the twenty-three years showed an increase in bis business
and profits. This was due largely to his strict attention to business and partly
from the fact that no better class of people can be found than those with which
he is surrounded, and both these gentlemen have become wealthy and built
elegant homes in the city, where they now make their homes, letting their boys
continue the business.

There are two churches in the township, one being the Methodist, called
Mount Hope, the other being Presbyterian.

A Masonic lodge and Eastern Star were organized simultaneously in 1900,
and a lodge of Modern Brotherhood in 1808. also a lodge of Modern Woodmen
at Armour Grange in 1904.

No community, however well ordered, seems to be exempt from trouble.
It appears that a young man named John Emerine had married a daugh-
ter of Mr. W. K. Eames. Emerine became so dissipated that his wife obtained
a divorce and returned to her father's home. They had one child and Emerine
would insist on coming to see the child, and on being ordered away by the
father, shot him but only wounded him slightly. On coming again young
Eames shot him, only wounding him, after which he left, and was gone
some time and again returned, and being seen around the premises a younger
son of Mr. Eames shot him again, this time proving fatal. There was no
indictment.

The present township officers are: J. M. Underwood, Eugene Steepfell
and F. B. Chambers, township trustees and M. W. Davis, clerk; A. F. Mam-
men and A. K. Chambers, justices of the peace; J. O. Chambers, constable and
H. R. Smith, assessor.



202 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

The present board of education is composed as follows: President,
J. W. Wild; secretary, J. A. Price; treasurer, George Quick.

JAMES TOWNSHIP.

James township is bounded on the north by Pleasant, east by Valley,
south by Belknap and west by York townships.

The west half is drained by Big Silver and its tributaries and the east
half by the West Botna and its tributaries. The soil is of the best and
a crop has never failed since the settlement. It is named in honor of Stephen
James, a brother of Judge W. C. James, both of whom are now deceased. It
is destitute of natural groves of timber, but the early settlers went to work
to remedy this defect by planting artificial groves, which have made such growth
that the whole face of the country has been changed.

The first road in the township was the old Ballard road, which ran north-
easterly from Council Bluffs past the eight mile grove and through Newtown
and to the southern part of Audubon county, where Dr. Ballard had large
tracts of land.

Although it has no town of its own it is in close touch with Hancock,
Oakland, Minden or Avoca. There has been since its early settlement a large
German element in its population and the first church was that of the German
Methodist, who as early as 1873, had a flourishing organization, including
a large Sunday school, and at that day had creeled a parsonage at a cost of
$3,500. Since then another church has been established.

The nearest railroad is the Carson branch of the Rock Island at either
Hancock or Oakland, while it is not a long haul to Avoca, Minden or Neola.

The following is a list of the present township officers: Trustees, H. 0.
Bain, Henry Nicolai, and <;. S. Cutchall; clerk. ('. C. Smith; justices of the
peace, S. W. Rounds and Otto Zoeller; constable, Charles Butterbaugh; assessor,
Titus Fehr.

The school board is composed of the following named citizens: President,
S. D. Blakely ; secretary, M. F. Brown; treasurer. A. G. Simon.

According to the state census of 1905 there were two hundred and sixty
persons of school age, of which one hundred and thirty-four were males and
one hundred and twenty-five were females.

The salaries of teachers: $40 for first and $35 for second class.

Another prominent citizen is Henry Brandes, for years president of the
board of supervisors.

KEG CREEK TOWNSHIP.

The general history of this township is that of Silver Creek up to 1873,
when it was cut out of that township. This was done by order of the board
of supervisors, made October 14, 1873, and it was also ordered that the first
election should be held at the schoolhouse known as the Keg creek school-
house, near what is known as the Dick Hardin farm. This is one of the sons
of the Davis Hardin that came in '38 to look after the interests of the Pot-
tawattamies.

The name of Hardin has been made very popular. One son (Mart, as he



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 203

was always called) having held public offices of various kinds for years and now
his son Will is the present assessor of the city, and has been for many years and
likely to be many years more, being one of these democrats that can always
catch a lot of republican votes.

This township was named after its principal stream. This stream derives
its name from the circumstance that some early emigrants found several kegs
of whiskey that had been hidden in the willows on its bank.

Among the early settlers who have become prominent and contributed
largely to the development of this township were: Wooster Fay, A. W.
Wyman, S. G. Underwood and Col. Wm. Orr. Of these only Mr. Underwood
is living. He has one of the finest and well stocked farms in the county.

The first officers of the township were: A. W. Wyman, Wooster Fay
and Fredrick Miller, trustees and George Kirby, justice of the peace.

The first road laid out was what is known as the state road, established
by Judge J. P. Casady in 1860, and was known as the Council Bluffs and
Lewis road, and for many years it was the only road in the township.

The first school of which there is any record was taught in 1856 in an
old log cabin that had been moved out of Moffat's grove to the edge of the
prairie, and taught by Miss Catharine Buffington. The winter of '56 was so
cold that they did without school.

It seems but proper that we should retain and hand down the names of
the sturdy, patient men that first opened up this most glorious country, and
we take pleasure in doing so especially as there are few now remaining with
us, and we even wander if we have their equals with us to-day, and we will
mention a few more that came in the early times. Thomas Moffatt came in
1856 and a Mr. Breckinridge the same year, Mr. Grierson came in 1855 and
Henry Kams opened a farm at the same date. Mr. Grierson died in the fall
of the same year that he came. Mr. McNay and Wm. Campbell also came in
an early day and have been some of our best citizens.

The present township officers are: F. Heuwinkel, H. Kirchoff and A. L.
Ingram, trustees; Henry Heuwinkel, clerk: P. C. Frohardt and P. W. Basch,
justices of the peace. No constable qualified, which leaves a vacancy, but so
law-abiding are the people that the election of justices and constables is only
a form.

The school board consists of R. McKinzie, president; F. C. Frohardt, sec-
retary and H. F. Saar, treasurer. The township has nine schoolhouses and
according to the state census of 1905, there were two hundred and eighty-
eight persons of school age in the township, of which one hundred and forty-
five w T ere males and one hundred and forty-three females to fill them.

The township has two churches, that of the Methodists on section 19,
and German Lutheran on section 2.

No country in the world can raise better crops or people than this town-
ship.

KANE TOWNSHIP.

This, the once most important township, has been nearly absorbed by
the city of Council Bluffs. It still has an existence and is famous for its vine-



204 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

yards and pretty suburban homes. At one time its eastern boundary was
for some miles the Mosquito creek, the citizens having been anxious to have
the benefit of the public schools. In an early day a brick schoolhouse was
built in that neighborhood and a school maintained by the city called the Clark
school, but getting tired of paying city taxes, petitioned to be set off, and
accordingly the city boundary was drawn in for one mile in section 19, Gar-
ner township, to a few rods in section 5 in Lewis township, .so that it at present
consists of some fragments left after constituting the city of Council Bluffs,
containing about ninety adult persons and half as many children of school age.

Small and well ordered as it usually is, it was once the scene of the most



Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 22 of 59)