The first settlement made in this township was in 1851, by Allen Smith, Lloyd Smith, Stephen Jackson, Ezra Allen and their families on the east side of the Cedar river, on and near where the town of Horton is now located.

Alex Jackson came in 1851 and Gideon Phelps, John Tyler, J. J. Corlett and Joseph Smith came in 1853.

During 1864 the following arrived: Geo. Bawser, Geo. Richey, Chas. Woodcock, Wm. and Obed Gaines and Louis Wheeler.

Adin Terry, E. A. Granger and John K. Head came in 1856, and about the same time among other arrivals were: Nutting, Lane, Eldredge, Tape, Lease brothers and Cagley.

The first election was held at the home of Lloyd Smith in April, 1864. The following officers were elected: Trustees, John S. Tyler, Allen Smith and G. G. Phelps; Clerk, Addison Phelps; Justices, G. G. Phelps and S. D. Jackson; Constables, Lavinus Phelps and Spencer Jackson.

The township was organized December 6, 1858.

The first postoffice was established in 1854 and was called Polk. S. W. Jackson was the postmaster.

Horton postoffice was established in 1857 with Lyman Nutting as postmaster.

The first church organization was the Methodist and was formed in 1854.

The first frame school house was at Horton in 1859.

The first church building was that of the Free-Will Baptist, 1869, at Horton.

The first school taught in the township was in a log cabin in 1854; Mrs. Louisa Nutting, teacher. There were about 15 pupils in attendance.

A steam saw-mill was in running order at Horton in March, 1856.

Woodcock & Hopkins erected a saw-mill on the Cedar river on Section 6. They operated it three or four years, when it was abandoned.

A steam saw-mill was built by Silas Farr in 1855. It ran as a saw-mill for three or four years, after which it was remodeled for a grist-mill and distillery. It was finally sold and removed.

The first marriage was in 1853, Mr. Elliott and Miss Ellen Buckmaster being the contracting parties.

The first death was that of Thomas Hawkins in the spring of 1853.

The first birth was that of Mary E. Smith, daughter of Allen and Elizabeth Smith, on September 19, 1852. The second birth was a son to Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Smith, in November, 1853.

Horton—this town is located on parts of Sections 26 and 27, and was platted in 1856 by C. A. Lease.

The first house built after the place was laid out was by Carlton Brown.

The first store was opened by Anson Nutting and about the same time a blacksmith shop was built by C. A. Lease and was operated by a Mr. Bower.

The first preaching in the place was by Elder David Terry, a regular Baptist, in 1857. Rev. Terry also performed the first marriage ceremony, which united the destinies of W. W. Gray and Miss Lucinda Nutting, in the summer of 1857.

The first death was an infant, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chatincey Lease, and the first birth was a son to the same parties.

A creamery—among the first in the county—was in operation for some years, but was finally discontinued.

Horton still contains a number of residences, one of the largest general stores in the county, a graded school, one church, a blacksmith and repair shop, a garage, etc.

Plainfield is situated on the Iowa division of the Illinois Central railroad, and on part of Sections 29 and 30. The town was platted October 16, 1866.

Previous to the platting of the town site, Mr. Folks had built a frame building and put in a stock of goods. This was the first store in the town.

The first postoffice, which was named Polk, established in 1854, has previously been mentioned. It is said of this office that the first quarterly report showed receipts of 45 cents for postage stamps and there was unpaid postage on books, pamphlets, etc., to the amount of 27 cents, which shows the amount of business transacted in early days.

The first school in Plainfield was taught by H. M. Swan, a Methodist preacher.

Plainfield became an independent school district in 1872, and in 1881 a new school house was built which has since been enlarged. It is a credit to the town.

The Plainfield House, a frame structure, was the first hotel, and was kept by Geo. Ketchum.

Mr. Henry Flint was the first shoemaker to engage in business here.

A steam saw-mill was operated by Bement and Boorom and a good business was done until 1869, when the boiler exploded, so much damage that the project was abandoned.

Dr. H. Nichols was the first physician to locate here. This was in 1869.

E. F. Temple started a store here in 1873 and remained until the spring of 1877 when he sold both stock and store to E. J. Walker.

The first drug store was opened in 1870 by Warren Connor. He remained in business until 1870.

At different times two different attorneys sought to make a living here, but the citizens were too peaceful and they left for more turbulent towns.

Wm. Ryon built a blacksmith shop in 1876 and hired Peter Fisher to do the work.

Plainfield has grown to be a town of some little size. It has electric lights, two banks, two elevators, a good creamery and feedmill, two churches, several stores, lumber yards, agricultural implement shops, restaurants, a hotel and a boarding house and other enterprises, all doing a fair amount of business. Its schools are good and its citizens are public spirited.

Last updated 4/9/16
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Bremer County, Iowa
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Pioneer Days of Bremer County -- Chapter IV