Another peculiarity about Bremer county is that the townships are all named for persons; four for presidents—Washington, Jefferson, Jackson and Polk; two for candidates for president—Fremont and Douglas, and Dayton for Fremont's running mate in 1856; Lafayette and Warren for two soldiers of the revolution of 1776, and Frederika for the celebrated novelist and writer, Frederika Bremer. Hardly another county in the state has such an illustrious array of township names as has Bremer. Maxfield, the last township to be organized in the county, was given Judge Maxfield's name, as it was organized in his first term as county judge, thus making the whole list named for persons. Sumner was so named for Senator Charles Sumner, the champion of the abolition cause in 1856-57. The naming of the township was always a gaff in Jim Wilson's mind, for he was a Bourbon democrat and, I think, at the first held in the township he cast the only democratic vote in the box. He and Hosea Griffith were very near neighbors and quarreled every time they met, over politics, for Hosea was as radical in politics as Jim was. The consolation Jim had was that the grove in the extreme northeast corner of the county was given his name because he was the first settler in the grove, antedating Griffith a few weeks. They two owned all the grove and they both sought to have the privilege of selecting a name for the township. Griffith was an idolatrous admirer of Senator Sumner and chose his name for the new township and won. Jim always maintained that if Hosea had chosen Griffith instead of Sumner, he would have beaten the "Yankee." His chief consolation was that the grove was recognized as Wilson's instead of Griffith's. As it turned out the honor was even between the cavalier from Virginia and the Puritan from Massachusetts. Griffith sold out in about 1861 and left Jim chief of the grove and supremely happy. I don't know where Wilson went after he sold out about the beginning of the war, but I always suspicioned that he went back to old Virginia. and into the Confederate army, but as to that fact I am ignorant. Both of the men were characters such as are not often found together, and as widely different as men could be. Exact antipodes in every way, except in temperament and disposition, both loved a quarrel, and they had that all the time while they lived in Wilson's Grove. Each settled there in 1855 or 56.



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Bremer County, Iowa
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Pioneer Days of Bremer County -- Chapter I