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In the winter of 1854-5 the first school in Edna township was opened in the double log house of Mr. Townsend, mentioned above. It was a subscription affair, and the teacher was Nancy A. Brenton, the younger daughter of John Brenton, a Kentuckian, who during the previous June had purchased a farm on section 22 of an Illinois man, discouraged and eager to return to his own State. Mr Brenton had been for many years a farmer in Indiana, and although a man of fifty-seven, had started for Council Bluffs, in the spring of 1854, with the intention of settling in that vicinity. Accompanied by his wife and several children he traveled by team, and when he reached Edna Grove concluded it would be a good country for farming and made the purchase, as stated. During the winter that his daughter, Nancy, taught school, he himself killed twenty-two deer, and thus kept the family well supplied with fresh meat. In the following fall he went to live with his son, William F. Brenton, who had brought his bride of a year to live at Edna Grove, and the two afterward purchased 2,000 acres of land in the township, and became prominent dealers in real estate. The father's death occurred in Montgomery county, Iowa, where several of his children resided at the time, William F. remaining for many years thereafter a leading citizen of the township.
One of the first births in the township was that of Edna A., daughter of William F. and Elvina (Mathews) Brenton, the date being August 10, 1855. She became the wife of Thomas A. Black and lived for many years on a portion of the old homestead.
From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pg. 119.
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