The first settlement made in this township was by E. P. BenIfs, J. N. Bemis and Allen Rowe in June, 1854. J. N. Bemis built the first house.

In the fall of the same year came Chas. Rowe and A. L. Stevenson and Rev. A. K. Moulton came in 1855.

1856 came Albert Rowe and in 1857 Geo. Wheaton, D. R. Hatch, Henry Lease, Jr., and Geo. H. French settled in the township. Sumner township did not settle up very rapidly for some time.

The first marriage was that of D. R. Hatch and Miss Mary A. Davis, April 15, 1858. This marriage was soon followed by that of Charles Sweet and Nancy Moulton.

The first birth was a child to Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Stevenson, which was born in May, 1855. It lived but a few weeks. This was the first death in the township.

The second death was that of Hattie, wife of Andrew Parkhurst; she died in October, 1856.

The first school taught was by Mary Ann Hart, in a little building used as a granary, on the premises of J. N. Bemis, in the fall of 1857.

The first religious services were held by Rev. A. K. Moulton, near Wilson's Grove.

The first postoffice was established at Wilson's Grove in 1855. J. N. Bemis was the postmaster.

The township was organized July 27, 1858, but the boundaries were afterward changed.

The first election was held at the house of Rev. A. K. Moulton, on August 16, 1858, where the following officers were elected: Trustees, H. E. Jaggar, Geo. H. French and L. M. Sholes; Clerk, H. W. Griffith; Justices, J. N. Bemis .and J. N. Wilson; Constables, Charles Rowen and M. Baker.

Sumner—the town of Sumner—is near the northeast border of Bremer county and on the C. G. W. railroad. It is on the thru-line from Chicago to St. Paul and on the branch of the same road to Waverly, where it connects with the main line from Chicago to Omaha. The town plat was filed July 1, 1873. To the original plat there have been added several additions.

The first house built in Sumner was a residence by Chauncey Carpenter, in 1871. Mr. Parsons built the next one and Ebed Brooks built the third in 1872. A. S. Buls built the next one in 1873.

D. B. Hatch opened the first store in Sumner in 1873. The next store was opened by Brown & Ward. Green & Lovejoy erected a store building in 1874, and Stephen Todd put up the next business place in 1874. S. F. Cass came to Sumner township in 1866 and opened a store about four miles north of Sumner town. His trade became quite large and in 1867 there was a postoffice established there with Mr. Cass as postmaster. The place was called Cassville and there were a few other business enterprises started, but finally they all concluded to cast in their lot with the town of Sumner, and during the winter of 1875-76 all Cassville was moved to Sumner. This addition to Sumner nearly doubled its size and gave it quite a boom. The first railroad—then called the Dubuque and Dakota—reached Sumner in 1880, since which time the town has had a steady growth.

In the spring of 1876 Sumner became an independent school district, and a two-story frame school building was erected. Afterward a couple of additions were made. During the year 1901 the present fine brick building was erected. There is now a good graded school, with a full twelve-years' course of study.

The first newspaper was the Sumner Camera. The name was later changed to Sumner Gazette, which still continues to keep the citizens posted on current events.

Sumner now has a water works system, electric lights, three banks, several churches, many fine stores, handling different lines of trade, lumber yards, implement dealers, a creamery and other lines of business that go to make up a first-class town.

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