of Black Hawk County, Iowa



If you are looking for some very well researched Black Hawk County History, these are the pages to view. Mary has done a wonderful job in the history of our county and we truly appreciate her sharing it with the IAGenWeb Project.

They have also shared this information at different sites throughout the IAGenWeb Project.

Written in 1914 by John C. Hartman and submitted to IAGenWeb by Mary Eldridge, 1998


Three types of townships:


1) Congressional township, which is always six miles square, more or less, in a location designated by a certain number north of a base line and a certain number of range east or west from a Prime Meridian;
2) Civil township, whose boundaries are drawn in relation to election precincts;
3) School township, where the boundaries relate to school interests.
In Black Hawk County, Congressional townships were disregarded by the judge dividing up the counties into townships because of the Cedar River running diagonally across the county.
This would have made the Congressional township method of division inconvenient for people (voters) trying to cross the river in the time before there were any bridges.
The following are townships located within Black Hawk County.

The list of settlers is not meant to be conclusive. Most of the information was taken from the Hartman book and page numbers are noted.

Black Hawk Township
Established 2 March 1855.

In Black Hawk Township area around the location of the first schoolhouse (No. 1) was also called “Jockeytown.”
The rumor was that Mr. Bonsteel came to the area to trade horses for cattle but was unsuccessful because the local settlers were too wise. Bonsteel said, “They were too much jockey for him, that it was a sort of Jockeytown” (p72). Another rumor was that the name was given by an early circuit rider trying ineffectively to finagle a sharp trade with one of the pioneers.

Byron Sargeant, an early township settler, maintained that it was Bonsteel who deserved credit for the name. (This area was also known as Wilson Junction.)


Fall of 1852
John D. Ferris & wife (Knox Co., IL) believed to be the first settlers in this township.

Byron Sargeant, 1 mile east of Hudson
Edward Butterfield
Adam Shigley (also listed in Lincoln Twn.)
William Brooks,
Hiram Luddington
John and Oscar Virden
Robert Jones
Norman Jackson.
Goonda Osman (this name appears with many different spellings including Gunner Osman and Gunder Osman), with his wife and father, to section 28.
Samuel Gibson (also listed in Lincoln Twn.) (New York), section 5.
E. H. Potter (Crawford Co., PA) 80 acres, sec. 24, 120 acres in sec. 23.
D.M. Ward & family, section 34
George Ward, sections 28 and 34.
Charles Sargeant, NE qtr. section 26.
William Seeley and his brother Jesse Seeley, sections 26 and 27 (Both Seeleys died soon after arrival. Jesse’s widow went back to Michigan, remarried [D.W. Suiter] and returned to Black Hawk Township to purchase the west 1/2 of the SE quarter of section 26.) A. J. Tapp & family, NE qtr section 13 (first frame building in Hudson).
Oliver Hughes, SE qtr section 13.
Asa B. Rowe, SW qtr section 24
William Rice, section 27.
H. H. DeWitt, section 1
N. L. Pratt, section 11
Henry Kenitzer, section 12
Warren Baldwin
Albert Sargeant
Harvey Washburn (New York), section 15. (Harvey was soon joined by his two sons, D. B. and J. H.) John Worthington (New York), sections 14 and 15.
Joseph Boice, SE section 21.


Cedar Township
(pp. 74 & 75)
Established 12 March 1856
(At first was part of Poyner Township.)

The Post Office was at the log home of John Forbes on the bank of Mud Creek. The office was called “Eliza” and was only in operation from 1852 to 1856.



William Brown

John Dobshire

July 1852
David Baker, section 3
Samuel Warner, section 15
O. F. Hayden, section 2
Fall, 1852
Jacob Koch
Abraham Turner (Ogle Co., IL) came to Black Hawk Co. in the Spring of 1853, entered land section 18 in the Fall of 1853.
Peter Foulk

Horner Brown
George Eastman
Nelson McKellar
John Ash


Cedar Falls Township
(pp. 75 & 76)
Established 6 February 1854.


William Chambers and the Williams brothers camped in the area, but they did not settle, remaining only one season.
March, 1854
William Sturgis & family (The Sturgis claim included the falls of the Cedar River.)
E. D. Adams & family (The Adams claim was farther down river, but adjoining the Sturgis land.)
Jackson Taylor & family
1 October 1856 Jessie Sturgis (female) was born, becoming the first white child born in the county.
John T. Barrick
J. M. & D. C. Overman
Ed Brown
D. C. Overman (became postmaster)

Eagle Township
(pp. 76-78)
Established 1 March 1858.

None of the homes in the township were built of logs because timber was so remote. It was cheaper to bring sawed lumber from Waterloo.


C. W. Eighmey & wife
Owen McManus (S. part)
a woman by the name of Mitchell.

Spring of 1856
_____ Regan,
James Shean
James Taggart
W. H. Steimel
John Penne


East Waterloo Township
(p. 78)
Established 5 May 1858.


James Virden (Wayne Co., IL) along Virden Creek.
Later James moved to Cedar Falls.


Fox Township
(p. 78, 79)
Established 3 May 1858.
Set off from Spring Creek Township.


Stephen Howell (IN) in the SE part.

Frederick E. Bissell
John Dunham (section 19)

Jubilee Post Office was located seven miles southeast of Gilbertville in section 27. There were several stores and a creamery cooperative.


Lester Township
(pp. 79 & 80)
Established 7 February 1854.


Henry Owen, his father and mother (J. R. Owen & wife)
A. W. Barber
P. S. Canfield and Eli Owen all traveled together and settled in the same neighborhood.
James Dunkerton & wife (Town of Dunkerton named after him, located on his farm)
Logan Bright - log cabin where Littleton is now located.
P. S. Canfield section 9
Eli Owen section 5 (Eli and Henry Owen both married soon after coming to Lester Township.)
A. W. Barber section 4 (Barber was a carpenter by trade.)

H. W. Bucher & A. R. Dickey (both from Stephenson Co., IL)


Lincoln Township
(pp. 81 & 82)
Established 6 June 1861


Prior to 1854
Samuel Gibson
Adam Shigley
( both listed in Black Hawk Township).

Madison E. Hollister
Watson V. Coe
William Seeley and his brothers
Robert Gibson.

Horace Beckwith


Mount Vernon Township
(pp. 82 & 83)
Established 19 September 1854

Most land entries were along the north border, to be close to the supply of timber from the Big Woods in Bremer County.


___ Allen, NE qtr section 4
William Bergin and ___ Tatum, sections 3 and 4
William Kern, section 6

M. Rowen SW qtr of section 6
William Hogan, section 3

Isaac McCaffrey (bought out by Allen)
Joel Hizer, section 4 (returned to W. VA in 1855 to marry)

Milton Smith builds first tavern on Independence, Janesville & Waverly Road. It was known as the “Seven-Mile House.”


Orange Township
(pp. 83,84)
Established 3 March 1853

First called Adeline Township, the name was changed in August of 1858 to Orange (no explanation given).

Samuel Owens first entered land in township 88, range 13, which corresponds to Orange township.

The first actual settlers were Samuel White and his wife in 1853, from Illinois, who settled in sections 12 and 13.

With them came Samuel White’s father, Gideon White. The Whites had first settled in Poyner Township, south of Gilbertville but sold that farm to Amasa Nims.

The Whites also previously located in Cedar Township near Washburn.


John D. Eason
Jacob W. Miller

Hiran Bueghly

Charles W. Budd
John W. Clark
Samuel Hoover

A. A. Allen
Cornelius Miller

Matthias Miller
Samuel M. Miller


Poyner Township
(pp. 84 & 85)
Established 20 June 1854.

The township was named in honor of Reverend Nathan Poyner, a Baptist minister who settled here in 1853.



Amasa Nims, E. section 26 (He sold out in 1852 to Benjamin Winsett and moved out of the township.)

Isaac Shimer
John and Joseph Perry
George Arthur

Nathan and Thomas Poyner
John Van Eaton
Edmund Sawyer

John Morgan (Morgan served in the Black Hawk War and was present at the Battle of Bad Axe and the surrender of Chief Black Hawk.) He settled near the mouth of Poyner’s Creek and founded the town of Gilbertville.
John Chambaud and John Felton arrived this same year and, in some accounts, are given credit for the founding of Gilbertville.

L. David
C. Chamberlain
David Owens
Ira Nichols
William Wheeler
Albert Taylor
John Helton
John Holler
Henry Kimble
John Linderman
James Poyner
all settled in the Southern part of the township.

Elias Shinn
Henry Rice
William Waterfield
John Saulsberry
all located near the present site of Raymond.

John Cottrell, located in the northern part.

Harvey Hume, West line of the North part of the township
M. Baumberry, East and North
Levi Washburn, the vicinity of Raymond.


Spring Creek Township
(pp. 85-87)
Established 7 February 1854.

The Cedar River forms a boundary between Big Creek and Spring Creek Townships. At first, Spring Creek Township extended across both sides of the river, but settlers (voters) on one side of the river could never get across to attend meetings, etc. so the west side was added to Big Creek Township.
The following are all reported to have been “the first settler” of the township: John Clark & family, James Chambers and Moses Bates.


3 April 1853
John Clark & family (section 14, range 87)
Simon Clark & wife
Andrew Clark & wife
George Clark & wife and sons Thurman and Joseph (sec. 13)
William Louis
Henry Clark
John Howrey & wife
D. B. Teeter & wife.
(All the above people came with John Clark.)

Jim Chambers (built a log cabin on the site of the Clark farm)
Moses Bates (His place of settlement is unknown. Bates was said to be an unsavory character who left the area after being the subject of a “whipping party” when he was suspected of being part of a ring of horse thieves.)
Henry Gipe (section 13) and William Gipe (section 28) & families
William Gray
Edward Sawyer
Andrew Sutherland

Roberts (or Robert)
Boyles (or Boyle)
Longacres (or Longaker)
Masters (or Master)
Broad (or Broads).


Union Township
(p. 87)
Established 1 February 1858

Washington Township was divided, with the part west of the Cedar River becoming Union Township.


James and Elizabeth Bennett (Kane Co., IL). Their son, Walter J., born 26 January 1854 was the first white child born in the township.

I. M. Bovee, 120 acres in sections 17 & 20
Clinton Bozarth (married Elizabeth Lane a year after arrival)
John and Mary Hackett
Henry J. Thompson.

John Morgan & wife.


Washington Township
(pp. 87 &88)
Established in 1857. Later, the western portion became Union Township.


James Newell - on the forks of the Cedar River close to the mouth of the Shell Rock River in section 10.

Fall of 1854
E. G. Young (IL), his wife and two children (Mary and Daniel) settled 160 acres in sections 14 and 15.
(Daniel was the first white child born in the township.)
The Young’s moved to Missouri in 1868 after selling their farm to Henry Miller.

Warren Sherman (remained in the township 12 years)

Ross Baker, John Wilson

John Knapp (sec. 22)
Benjamin Knapp (sec. 26)
Sam Knapp (sec. 15)
Judson Knapp (sec. 15)
Velorus Thomas (sec. 15)
Charles Ford (moved in 1856 to Franklin County)
David Ford
Stephen Ford

D. W. Jordan

John A. Taylor
John Tennyson

Hampton Ford (sections 10, 13, 23)


Waterloo Township
(p. 89)
Established 7 February 1854.


George W. Hanna and family
John Melrose

Charles Mullan and family


Barclay Township
(pp. 89-90)
Established 2 March 1855

Jason Stubbs (Eastern Tennessee) purchased 90 acres with a log cabin for $1,000 in Barclay town. He returned to Tennessee and brought his wife to Iowa in 1857. (They were married in Eastern Tennesee in 1850.) They settled in Section 15 in Barclay Township, moving to Dunkerton in 1903.

James Barclay platted a town because he was sure a railroad line would go through it. (Survey stakes left by the railroad survey crew convinced him of this.)

Soon there were several general stores, two hotels, a blacksmith shop, a drug store, a jewelry store, and two physicians at “Barclay Town”.

When the railroad was instead built three or four miles to the south, spurring growth of the town of Jesup, the town of Barclay faded into nonexistence.

By 1861, nothing remained.


Bennington Township
(pp. 91 & 92)
Established 1 February 1858.
This was first part of Lester Township.


Yeager Baum, SW 1/2 of section 4

Nathan Harwood & family (NW qtr of sec. 4)
___ Bundy & family.
H. P. Homer came from Cortland Co. NY with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Homer, H. P.’s sister and his cousin, James Sunderland. All but H. P. Homer traveled westward from East Dubuque by stagecoach -- H. P. walked. H. P. Homer married Glorvina A. Corwin 22 March 1860. H. P. was 19 when he came to Bennington Township and began teaching school. Thomas S. Homer bought out Yeager Baum, section 4, in April of 1856.

Thomas Blake (lived near Blakeville)
B. G. Updike (Updyke)
James Rogers

The population of Bennington Township in August of 1858 was 108 (including 26 children).

Blakeville had a Post Office established 18 June 1856 with B. G. Updike as postmaster.


Big Creek Township
(pp. 93-95)
Established 12 March 1856.

Dr. Jesse Wasson was the first settler of the town of La Porte City, also the first justice of peace, the first postmaster, and the first physician.

He came from La Porte, IN in 1855 and named the town after his home. Dr. Wasson built a building on the corner of Main & Locust in April of 1855 to use as a store and home. He also erected the first saw mill on Big Creek in 1856.

Other Settlers

John Howrey (walked back to Indiana, then returned in the Spring to locate in Spring Creek Township)

Christian Good (2 miles E. of La Porte on Cemetery Rd.)

John Parks and his son, Hiram Parks (2 miles E. of La Porte)
Henry Husman and his son, Joseph Husman (1 mile East of La Porte)
Seth Cooper

Louis Turner (operated the grist mill)
John Haymond


Between 1851 and 1854
Joseph & William Brown
Luke Bravender
Joseph Forbs
James Hannes
George Cook
John Dees
John Smelser
William Smelser
Christian Good
____ Dempsey
John Shafer

Between 1854 and 1855
Henry Husman
John Parks
John R. Reeves
Levi Kennicott
Seth Cooper
William Cooper
Chris Erbe
Henry Turner
Sol Harvey
Alfred Kennedy
Salmon Chapin
William Clark
John Clark
Riley Maultry
Ezra Burns
S. W. Knowles
Dr. J. Wasson
John Thompson (the blacksmith)
John & James Fosdick

Between 1855 and 1856
George Nichols
John Nichols
John Gannon
Thomas Mayes
Wal Herd
James Herd
Mickey O’Reardon
Lenius Turner
William Fox
David Fox
Cyrus Cotton
Allen Cotton
Ed Quackenbush
George Hackett
Jackson King
John King
John Leach
Jesse Dodson
George Bishop



Hartman, John C. (supervising editor) 1915.
History of Black Hawk County and its people
Vol 1&2. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company.