Copyright
Homer Howard Field.

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

. (page 27 of 59)
Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 27 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


keeper. The house he built here was of native timber and the shingles were
rived and shaved. He went to California before '60 and died there. Amos
West was born in Bristol county, Mass.. and died in Wright township, April
30, 1880.

The religious interest was represented by the Whipple class, which wa^



240 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

organized by Rev. Mr. Adair in August, 1872, with the following members:
Heniy W. Rarey and wife and Mrs. S. J. Weaver. The following spring Mrs.
J. N. Bell, Mrs. Charles Mathews, Mrs. Sarah Mathews, James McGinnis, Mrs.
Nancy McGinnis, Mrs. M. P. Black, William Morford, Mrs. Susan Morford,
Mrs. Eli Clayton and Mrs. Helen Baxter joined the class.

The first school attended by the children of the township was taught by
Harriet Howard in a log cabin on the southeast quarter of section 2.

The first building erected for school purposes was in subdistrict No. 7
and was called the Dean schoolhouse. The lumber for this house was
wagoned from Boone on the Northwestern railroad in 1866. The desks
were made of native walnut. Georgianna Hardenberg was the first teacher
in the new building and later became the wife of Warren Dean.

Wright township, having no railroad or town of its own, and, conse-
quently, no saloons, there is but small material from which to make history.
But of one thing we are assured, its splendid soil produces the best kind of
men and women, as well as all the crops adapted to this latitude. Among
the men we might mention Mr. James Boiler, Mr. B. G. Auld, Mr. J. R.
Scofield as representative nun. as well as Mr. Allen Bullis, who, by the way,
is by far the best looking member of the honorable board of supervisors.

The present township officers consist of the following persons: C. W.
Forrestall, N. Sucksdorf and Jackson Lewis, trustees; M. L. Northrup. clerk;
Isaac Spiker and Cyrus Boiler, justices of the peace; H. W. Rarey, assessor.
No constable appears to be needed, as no one has qualified.

The school board is constituted as follows: President, George H.
Mathis; secretary, N. R. Graham; treasurer, F. A. Burnham.

According to the state census of 1905, there were two hundred and twen-
ty-eight persons in the township of school age, of which one hundred and
seven were males and one hundred and twenty-one were females.

Salary of teachers is $40 and $35 for first and second grades respectively.

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP.

Washington township was organized as a civil township from the terri-
tory comprising congressional township 75, range 41, on petition of C. W.
Brown and others. It is situated east of Council Bluffs. Tlir name of
Washington was given at the instance of Jerome Turner, a tanner, and long
resident of the township. There were but sixteen votes cast at the first elec-
tion. The first road out after the township was organized was what was
known as the Wasson road, from Nishnabotna to a point near the old Parks
mill, three miles from Council Bluffs. The township is rolling prairie with
but little native timber. The old stage road used to run through it, and
its first station was at the house of Pleasant Taylor. He was the first settler.
He also built the first mill. The first schoolhouse was built by Jerome Turner
and the first teacher was Miss Pile.

Soon after the first schoolhouse was built a Sunday school was organized
at that point. The first sermon preached was by Elder Galliday. of Council
Bluffs.



O
>

O



>

o
o
el

o



03




THE NEW YORK
PUBLIC L



ASTOB, I F



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 243

The next settler was F. A. Burke, an old time steamboatman from the
Monongahela country in Pennsylvania. He soon moved to Council Bluffs
where he reared a large family. He was elected justice of the peace, which
office held for two or three terms and for a great number of years was
city recorder. He was a prominent Odd Fellow and always was a man
of strictest integrity. His eldest son was the first to make the Council Bluffs
Nonpareil a daily. Another son went to California and became a journalist,
and the third, a lawyer, reached the head of his profession at the Potta-
wattamie county bar.

Jerome and Charles Turner came soon after, and for years these were
the only settlers. The settlement of this township was slow, there being
no railroad near.

The first settlers in their order were Pleasant Taylor, Jerome Turner,
Charles Turner, James A. Taylor, F. A. Burke, T. B. Mathews, J. B. Mathews
and A. F. Carter.

The first election was held October 11, 1870. P. B. Mathews, James
Taylor and B. M. Weak were chosen trustees; J. B. Mathews, clerk, and
B. M. Weak and W. L. Wassom, justices of the peace.

In December, 1877, after attending a religious meeting at the Taylor
Station schoolhouse, two young men named Geo. W. Briggs and Wm. Martin
got into a quarrel in which the latter stabbed Briggs through the heaxt,
instantly killing him. In the trial Martin claimed to be acting in self
defense and was found not guilty.

This township labors under the disadvantage of having no railroad
connection, and consequently no town of its own, but with the best of soil
and an enterprising set of farmers, it has made great progress. From the
little school first taught by Miss Piles in 1859 they have grown to nine
subdistricts, with good schoolhouses, and, according to the state census of
1905, there were two hundred and thirty-eight persons of school age, of
which one hundred and twenty-four were males and one hundred and four-
teen were females. The salary of teachers is $40 and $35 per month for
first and second class respectively.

The present board of directors is as follows: President, T. J. R. Turner;
secretary, J. H. Turner; treasurer, F. W. Pierce. This being strictly an
agricultural community without a railroad or town, there is but little for
the historian to record, but to one having visited this township forty years
ago, on returning now, would be struck with admiration by the changed
conditions.

The good farm houses, improved roads and fine artificial groves mark
the presence of an industrious and progressive people.

The present township officers are as follows: Trustees, C. W. For*
restall, N. Sucksdorf and Jackson Lewis; clerk, F. W. Pierce; justices of the
peace, W. F. Lyman and Zeph Thomas; constables, none qualified; assessor,
Harry Hoist.

Among other prominent citizens we might mention G. W. Killian, J. K.
Annis and J. H. Turner.



244 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

WAVELAND TOWNSHIP.

Waveland township is situated in the extreme southeastern part of the
county. It is bounded on the north by Wright township, east by Cass
county, south by Montgomery county, and west by Grove township, and
organized in 1856.

The petition for its organization by mistake was made to include what
is now Grove and Center townships, and at the election that year the mistake
was rectified in a proper application and duly approved by the county
authorities. It was originally called Walnut Creek, after the stream that
passes from north to south through it a little west of its center. It is well
watered by that stream, and by the Jordan, that passes through the north-
west corner, and the East Botna, that drains the eastern part of the town-
ship.

The first election was held in 1855, and the following officers were
elected: Ed. Dean, John Wilson and Wm. Mewhirter, trustees; Frederick
Mewhirter, justice of the peace; Frank Hostetter, constable, and Wm. Mc-
Cartney, assessor.

The first marriage was that of Levi Smith and Miss Sara Wilson in
the fall of '59. The first birth that of Wm. Black and the first death that
of Zolphis Williams in September, 1854.

The first mill of any kind was a sawmill, constructed by a man named
Davenport, who afterward moved off. The second sawmill was built on the
west bank of the river by Isaac Bobb on section 13 in 1867.

The first school was taught by a Mrs. W'arrin in her own house on
section 13 in 1857, and the second by Mary Ann Ilackin in an old log house
in the same section in 1859. The first public schoolhouse was erected in
1861.

From these have sprung, by the year 1901, eight good comfortable
schoolhouses in the township.

A postoffice was established at the Mewhirter bridge across the Botna,
but later was moved.

The first ten settlers who came to Waveland in '54, '55, '56 and '57
were Granville Pierson, Joseph Pierson, W. P. Black, Johnson Brandon,
Wm. and Frederick Mewhirter, all in 1S54. George Boyer, Peter Cocklin
and John Wilson in '55 and John Flint in 1857. These came over the
old Mormon trail and built log cabins with turf roofs until they could do
better. These settlers were compelled to go to Stutsman's mill or to Iranis-
tan in Cass county for their milling.

The first bridge built was over Walnut creek on the Walnut Creek and
Wheeler's Grove road, and the first road laid out was the one leading from
Lewis, Cass county, to Sidney, Fremont county.

A distressing tragedy was enacted in this township in August, 1876,
resulting in the death of Dr. J. H. Hatton, residing a few miles from Wave-
land postoffice in Cass county. Dr. Hatton had been the family physician
of Frederick Mewhirter and as such had attended on Mrs. Mewhirter
at childbirth, in which Mr. Mewhirter accused the doctor with malpractice,



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 245

resulting in permanent injury to that lady. A suit was brought in the
court of Cass county and the decision of the court was against the doctor.
An appeal was taken to the supreme court, and during the pending of its
decision Mewhirter waylaid the doctor while he was riding along the high-
way by shooting which proved fatal.

Mr. Mewhirter came to Council Bluffs and surrendered himself to
Sheriff Doughty and was admitted to bail. When death ensued he was
rearrested, and on a hearing had before Judge Reed was committed to jail on
a charge of murder in the first degree. The trial came on in the December
term of the district court at Council Bluffs. The ground of the defense
was emotional insanity from brooding over supposed wrongs done to his
wife by the deceased Dr. Hatton.

After a long and well contested trial he was found guilty of murder
in the first degree and sentence pronounced by Judge Reed, from which
appeal was taken to the supreme court in which the judgment of the court
below was affirmed. A civil action was also brought in which a judgment
for $5,500 was obtained.

This township, having no town within its borders, its trade is mostly
with Griswold. Farming is the principal business and the people are gen-
erally prosperous, stock raising being largely engaged in. Fruit raising
has received considerable attention with fair success. Artificial groves also re-
lieve the monotony of the prairie as well as "temper the wind to the shorn
lambs." There are two churches in the township, both Presbyterian. No trag-
edies have occurred since the sad occurrence of Dr. Hatton's death many years
ago. The innocent cause of this recovered and is living, while Mr. Mewhirter
died in prison some years ago.

Among prominent men of "the township might be named J. K. Murche-
son, John Christian, Mr. Miller McCoy and a host of others.

The old days of following trails along the divides has passed away
and good roads and bridges are the order now.

The present township officers are as follows: Trustees, L. C. Hannah,
Thos. Grover and J. H. King; clerk, H. M. Egers; assessor, J. H. Watson;
justices of the peace, Sol. Cederman and J. K. Murcheson. No constable
qualified.

According to state census of 1905 there were two hundred and thirty-
four persons of school age, of which one hundred and eighteen were males
and one hundred and sixteen females.

The school board was constituted as follows: President, N. S. Collins;
secretary, C. M. Potter; treasurer, John Flint.

Salaries of teachers, $38 and $33 for first and second grades respectively.

YORK TOWNSHIP.

York is a full congressional township, being, according to United States
survey, township 76 north, in range 41 west. It is bounded on the north
by Minden, east by James, south by Washington and west by Norwalk town-
ships. The eastern portion is drained by Middle Silver creek, the central



246 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

by Little Silver and the western by Keg creek and its tributaries. It is mostly
prairie of the same fertility as the adjoining townships, while the groves of
native timber are along the water courses and consisting of lime, wal-
nut, red elm, white elm, hickory, hackberry, burr oak and red oak. The
largest grove is on Keg creek and also the old state road, called the Ballard
road. In the early days no one ever thought to settle anywhere but in or
by a grove. In fact, it was compulsory. Now. since the railroads bring
coal the groves have a chance to grow, and in many places the farmers'
artificial groves furnish fuel sufficient for their use.

In the early times when wood was scarce and some fanners burned corn,
the writer asked one if it did not seem wicked to burn corn when so many
mouths needed it. He replied that it was just as uncomfortable to be cold
as to be hungry, and moreover, if I would bring him a load of coal, he
would give me one of corn, and further, he said he could raise a crop of
corn in a year, while it required ten or fifteen to raise a grove. There was
some logic in this at that time, but it is to be hoped the necessity for this
has passed.

The first settlers of York township were Elani Meekham, X. Holman,
Wm. Champlain, Alex Clough, Henry Rishton, Sr., D. T. Jones, Lewis
Beard, Ratford Dewey, Joel German, John Ingram and West Ingram.
These gentlemen -settled between and including the years of 1848 and 1857.

The name of Mr. Dewey recalls an incident in which he had a part
more than forty-two years ago. The occasion was the draft in November,
1864. If any one was present from the county or township to be drawn
upon he was invited to draw. York had to furnish one or two and Mr.
Dewey, being present, was invited and drew his own son.

The first schoolhouse was built by the settlers at their own expense.
It was a little log cabin twelve by fourteen feet, with two windows, had
good strong rafters, and on these was put fir brush so thick as to hold earth,
which was pul on to the depth of eight or ten inches. It hud a puncheon
floor and slab benches. The first term was taught by Miss Harriet Perry
in the winter of 1858-9, and the second term in the summer of '59 and
taught by Miss Adalaide Clough. It seems that at that early day school-
marms were in demand for more occupations than one, as Miss Perry was
married in '59 and Miss Clough in '60. If the memory of the writer is
correct it was not far from this time that Mr. Wm. Maxfield was married
to Miss Rishton.

By the year 1881 the schools had increased as follows: Number of
subdistricts, seven; ungraded schools, seven: months taught, eight; teachers
employed, male one, female seven ; pupils of school age, males one hundred
and thirty-six, females one hundred and twenty-four; schoolhouses, frame,
eight, value $4,800.

Joseph Champlain was the first white child born in the township.

Among the early settlers was Benjamin Minturn, a good citizen, and
possessed of a reasonable amount of property, but unfortunately became in-
volved in a lawsuit with a man named Pierson, who was similarly situated,
and, both being stubborn, managed to keep their case in court until both



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 247

estates were entirely consumed in court costs and lawyers' fees, Pierson finally
becoming a county charge. This is strange, but still abler men have ex-
hausted fortunes in the same way.

This township had no town or railroad connection until 1903, when
the Great Western cut through the northwest corner, but this being so
close to Bently it is hardly probable a town will be started here. However,
prosperity has favored the citizens here as elsewhere, and an old timer, on
returning, after an absence of twenty years would hardly recognize the
places once so familiar to him. The old settlers have mostly passed away,
but the world is better for their having lived, and now a part of their
children in turn are opening up other homes nearer the setting sun.

The schools have grown since 1881 from seven to nine, and accord-
ing to the state census of 1905 there were two hundred and fifty-eight per-
sons of school age, of which one hundred and thirty-seven were males and
one hundred and twenty-one were females.

The board of directors are : President, Godfrey Elsabush ; secretary, M.
Minehan; treasurer, George Kadel.

The township officers are as follows: Trustees, John Ring, II . J. Geise
and Calvin Maurer; clerk, Uriah McLean; justices of the peace, W. J. Miller
and Mike Minehan; constable, no one qualified, consequently office is vacant;
assessor, August Geise.











c^^£



BIOGRAPHICAL



GENERAL GRENVILLE MELLEN DODGE.

General Grenville Mellen Dodge, whose career of great usefulness in
services of a national character, covering more than a half century, has
attained the age of seventy-six years, yet is still a factor in the active affairs
of life. Few men have been for so long a time in the public eye and the
life record of none has been more varied in character, more far-reaching or
valuable in its effects. Constant in honor, fearless in conduct and stainless
in reputation, General Dodge has long been accorded classification with the
most distinguished citizens of the Empire country. While his business inter-
ests have covered a wide scope, extending into all parts of the Union, he
has, during the greater part of his life, maintained his home in Council
Bluffs and among his friends and neighbors — those who know his personal
character aside from his public connections — he is accorded the warmest
friendship and highest esteem.

A native of Massachusetts, General Dodge was born in Danvers on the
12th of April, 1831. His father, Sylvanus Dodge, was born in Rowly,
Massachusetts, in 1801, and died in Council Bluffs on the 23d of December,
1871. The family comes of English ancestry, although in its lineal and
collateral branches it has been distinctively American through many gen-
erations. The founder of the family in the new world was Richard Dodge,
a native of England, who in 1629 joined the Plymouth colony in company
with his brother William, General Dodge of this review being one of Rich-
ard's descendants in the ninth generation. In the maternal line he comes
from an old New England family, also of English lineage, established in
America in 1700. His mother, Julia Theresa Phillips, was born in New
England and in 1827 became the wife of Sylvanus Dodge. Three children
were born unto them: Grenville M., in 1831; Nathan Phillips, in 1837;
and Julia Mary, in 1843. The father followed merchandising and at one
time was postmaster of his town. His rather limited financial circumstances
enabled him to give his children but meager educational privileges, limited
to attendance at the common schools through the winter months. In the

251



252 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

summer season the sons worked on farms and also at times assisted the
father in the store. Ambitious to secure an education, however, Grenville
M. Dodge resolutely set to work to provide the means necessary and at the
age of fourteen he entered the academy at Durham, New Hampshire. He
applied himself diligently to the mastery of his studies and in the following
year entered the Norwich University of Vermont, a military college, where
he completed the scientific course and was graduated as a civil and military
engineer with the class of 1850. Further practical advantages were enjoyed
by General Dodge for a short period in field work in Captain Partridge's"
Military Academy in Vermont.

The great west with its limitless possibilities attracted him and he turned
his attention to the field of railroad building in which he has attained dis-
tinction. Arriving in Illinois, he took a position in an engineering party of
the Illinois Central Railroad running the line from La Salle to Dixon. On
completion of this survey he entered the employ of Peter A. Dey, afterward
railroad commissioner of Iowa, in building the Chicago & Rock Island Rail-
way, and was soon entrusted with the survey of the Rock Island road to
Peoria. While thus engaged ho prophesied the building of and to some
extent outlined the route for the first great transcontinental railroad, a work
with which he was later so closely and prominently connected. After fin-
ishing his Peoria survey he accompanied Mr. Dey to Iowa and took part
in the building of the Mississippi & Missouri River Railroad from Davenport
to Council Bluffs, now a part of the Chicago, Rock Island ec Pacific Railway
system.

As he had opportunity between the year.- of 1853 and 1861, he explored
the country west of the Missouri river and examined the Rocky Mountains
from north to south to find the best place to cross with a railroad. He not
only formulated in his mind but also explained in letters the route which
was afterward selected. Such a course is typical of General Dodge's entire
life. He has not only performed the work in hand but has ever looked
forward to the future, planning not only for the exigencies of the moment
but for the opportunities t<> come and in this way he has been one of the
promoters of the country's progress and greatness.

In 1854 General Dodge became a resident of Council Bluff-, where lie
became engaged in manifold interests, including banking, the real-estate
business and freighting across the plains, lie was one of the organizers of
the banking house of Baldwin & Dodge, the predecessor of the Council Bluffs
Savings Bank, of which his brother, N. P. Dodge, was president thirty-two
years. About this time he took the initial step in his military career in
organizing the Council Bluffs guards, the nucleus of his future great com-
mand, and was made its captain. He continued in his professional and
business interests at Council Bluffs until the outbreak of the Civil war. when
he entered upon the second eventful period of his life.

At the outbreak of hostilities be hastened to tender his services to the
state government with his command, which he had previously organized.
Being located on the frontier, the company was not accepted, but Mr. ]><m1uc
was sent by Governor Kirkwood to Washington, in the spring <>t' 1861, to



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 253

arrange for the equipment of the Iowa troops. The delegation in congress
had failed to do this but Mr. Dodge was successful and, furthermore, his
worth was instantly recognized by the war department, which offered him
a commission as captain in the regular army. He declined this, but imme-
diately upon recommendation of the war department, Governor Kirkwood
commissioned him colonel and authorized him to raise a regiment. Within
an incredibly short time he had organized the Fourth Iowa Infantry at
Council Bluffs and he also recruited a company of artillery known as the
Dodge Battery, which became the Second Iowa Battery. Within two weeks
time Colonel Dodge was leading his command against the rebels in northern
Missouri. He did not wait for the government to slowly clothe and equip
his men but pledged his own credit for the purpose. During his excursion
into northwestern Missouri he was successful in putting to flight the guerrillas
that infested the northwestern part of that state. He also checked the
rebel colonel, Poindexter, in his northward movement and forced him to
retreat to southern Missouri. With his command, Colonel Dodge was first
assigned to Rolla, Missouri, where he was placed in command of the post;
in the southwest campaign he commanded the First Brigade, Fourth Division
of that army. His regiment was the first that entered the city of Spring-
field, Missouri, and at the battle of Pea Ridge his brigade saved Curtis'
army from disaster, although he was wounded and had three horses killed,
while the fourth was wounded under him. He was under fire for three days,
March 6, 7 and 8, 1862, and remained at his post until the battle was
brought to a close. He lost one-third of his entire command, every Held
officer being either killed or wounded, for he would not retreat. His calmness
in the -face of danger, his understanding of the situation and his indomitable
courage constituted the strong elements in the achievement of the great
victory. His service immediately won recognition in promotion to the rank
of brigadier general and when he had recovered from his wounds he was



Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 27 of 59)