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 History - Cass County


From the 1865 Iowa State Gazetteer,
published by Bailey and Hair, Chicago, and as written by W. D. Waddell, of Lewis, pg. 118-119

Cass County is situated in the southwestern part of the State, being the second county east of the Missouri river, and the third north of the State of Missouri, and is bounded on the north by Shelby and Audubon, on the east by Adair, on the south by Adams and Montgomery, and on the west by Pottawattamie.

The county was first settled by the Mormons, who established a station at Indiantown, on the Salt Lake road. The first permanent settlers were W. S. Townsend, John O. Campbell, Jeremiah Bradshaw and Peter Hedges, the latter two still residents of the county. It was declared organized by the State Legislature on and after the first Monday in March, A. D. 1853, and the first election election was held on the first Monday of April of that year. The general surface is rolling, with fine bottom lands along the streams. The soil is well adapted to the growth of corn, spring wheat, oats and barley; tame grasses have grown well wherever tried.

There is a good supply of oak, walnut, cottonwood, maple and other kinds of timber, which is found in groves of from fifty to five hundred acres, and is well distributed throughout the county.

In the southern and western part of the county there are inexhaustible quarries of limestone, and also of brown sandstone. In the immediate vicinity of Lewis, the county seat, both are abundant. The principal streams are the East Nishnobotany river, Indian creek, Turkey creeek, West Nodaway river, Troublesome creek and Seven Mile. Their general course is to the southwest. On these streams are several fine mill sites, although there is but one improved that is now in operation, the flouring and saw mill at Lewis. The county is divided into seven civil townships, viz.: Brighton, Cass, Edna, Lura, Pymosa, Turkey Grove and Union. The population in 1863 was eighteen hundred and twenty-three.

LEWIS, the county seat of Cass county, is situated on the east side on the Nishnabotany River, and at the junction of the two great wagon routes across the State. The nearest shipping point is Council Bluffs, on the Missouri River, fifty miles west, but the great number of emigrants that yearly pass through, on their way to Colorado, California, Idaho, & etc., makes a ready market for all kinds of produce.

The town was laid out in February, A. D., 1854, by David Chapman, surveyor. Among the first settlers were S. M. Tucker, S. H. Myers, Charles Woodward, Daniel Stanley, James S. Rand and J. W. Benedict. The first house was built by S. M. Tucker, and is still standing. The first white child born in the town by George D. Tucker.

There is a good mill site on the river adjoining the town, on which has been erected and is now in operation, a large flouring mill, with saw-mill attached. Limestone is abundant in the immediate vicinity, and within one-fourth mile of the town plat there are two quarries of brown sandstone, of which a number of buildings in the town and vicinity have been built.

The Methodist was the first church organized. Their church building was completed several years ago. The Congregationalists and Baptists each have church buildings nearly completed. The Masons and Good Templars each have an organization. The former, Lewis Lodge, No. 137, meets Monday evening on or before the full moon of each month. The latter, Minnehaha Lodge, No. 113, meets Tuesday evening of each week. The Cass County Messenger, weekly, is published by H. C. Johnson. Population, about 300.

GROVE CITY (formerly Turkey Grove) is ten miles north east of Lewis, on the Council Bluffs and Des Moines stage route. It has two churches, Congregational and Methodist, and one lodge of the I. O. G. T.; also one drug store and two general stores. Population, 75.

The other post-offices and villages are Edna, Lura and Whitneyville.

Transcribed for Cass County and contributed by Sheryl McClure, February, 2011.