|The following township histories were submitted and reprinted with the permission of the Cass County Genealogical Society. There may be more than one history of some townships, as the articles below were taken from several Society publications:
BEAR GROVE TOWNSHIP
By Jim Carey
Bear Grove Township comprises all of congressional township T-75-N, R-36-W of
the fifth principal meridian and is bounded on the north by Grove, on the east by
Union, on the south by Noble and on the west by Cass. Bear Grove was organized into
a civil township on June 11, 1869.
Bear Grove Township has had two churches, two towns, a railroad and two highways
over the years. There are no cemeteries in the township.
The Fletcher Chapel Methodist Church was located in the northwest quadrant of U.S.
Highway 71 (630th Street) and Oxford Road. It was organized in 1892 and remained
until the reconstruction of Highway 71 in 1970. The Congregational Church was located
one half mile west of the Fletcher Chapel Methodist church. The Congregational Church
was organized in 1874 and was disbanded in 1927.
The two towns in Bear Grove Township were Marker and Galion. Both towns were built
along the Atlantic Southern Rail Road (ran between Atlantic and Villisca). The towns
both disappeared after the railroad was abandoned about 1913. The town of Marker
was located on the Marker farm and consisted of a large General Store, depot, stockyards
and an elevator. Galion was a booming little town while the railroad was in operation.
Galion was located about 1/2 mile south of the junction of U.S. Highway 71 and Iowa
Highway 92 on the east side of the road. Galion had a General Store, Post Office,
hardware store, blacksmith shop, depot and a school which at one time had 56 pupils.
Fletcher Chapel Store was built in 1925. It was located in the southeast quadrant
of U.S. Highway 71 (630th Street) and Oxford Road diagonally across from Fletcher
Chapel Methodist Church. Besides selling general merchandise they handled hardware,
feed and gasoline. In the early 1930's a repair garage was built directly south
of the store. Both the store and the garage were torn down in 1970 because of the
Bear Grove Facts
Osro Baldwin was the first settler in the township in 1855. He built the first log
cabin in the township and in 1858 his was the first death of the township. The first
marriage in the township was between Seth Sackett an a daughter of Osro Baldwin
also occurring in 1858. The first birth in the township was that of a child born
to H. B. Roselle. The frame house first erected in the township was built by L.
D. Marsh in 1859. The first school in the township was built by H. B. Roselle in
1862 or 1863.
By Alma Wood
William Hamlin, a pioneer of Benton Township, settled here in 1851. He planted
the first corn and potatoes that year. Orson Brown settled here in 1856 and started
an orchard of 275 apple, 25 cherry and a few other kinds of trees. A flour mill
was situated in Section 29 on Troublesome Creek in 1870 at the cost of $3,000. By
this time many settlers had moved into the township. Among the early settlers were
the Walkers, Ellers, Jordans, Sislers, Marshs, Dorseys, Morgans, McDermotts and
many progressive farmers. The James Jordans came from Monroe Co Ind by covered wagon,
crossing the Mississippi River, buying eighty acres at four dollars an acre from
the railroad company. The land was about nine miles northeast of Grove City, moving
in a house built of walnut in 1868. School first held in the home of Mrs Joe Walker,
the teacher, then building a schoolhouse. The Highland Church and Cemetery was established
in 1864 and was a popular meeting place for many years. In later years, it was disbanded
and was the victim of vandals. A Plaque was erected on the steps of the old church.
Everything wasn't always good in our township. The "Crooked Creek Gang" was formed
and played havoc from Exira in Audubon County to Wiota. A man known by the name
of "Old Knowlton" was considered the "brains" of the gang. There was fighting and
even killing among the gang. those killed were John Anderson, Frank Brown, Roll
Strahl, and Roll's father, Colonel Strahl. Benton Township withstood all this and
is considered one of the garden spots of the county. The township schools were closed
years later with the pupils going by bus to Wiota, Atlantic and later some to Anita.
The Center Schoolhouse was bought by the neighbors in 1960, and Benton Community
Center was formed where cooperative dinners are served each month. The first officers
were Mrs Robert Wood, president; Earl Roglers, vice president; Louie Henningsen,
Treasurer; and Mrs Floyd Bannick, secretary. The county elections are still held
Historical Lewis - 125 years old In 1851, the land known as Cass County received
its name from Lewis Cass, a United States Senator from Michigan. It was a place
of long grass, tufted with clumps of Oak and Hickory and laced with the indelible
trails left by the moccasined feet of the Pottawattomies. The Mormons in 1846, had
begun their incredible trek across the unending prairies, and about twenty families
had settled on the Nishnabotna and on Indian Creek west of the present graveled
road. They built cabins and made dugouts, and stayed around for five or six years.
The last of the Mormons had left Cass County for Salt Lake City in 1852. Prominent
among the Mormons was A S Pettingill, who established a post office in the new settlement
and became its first postmaster. The mail was hauled once a week from Council Bluffs
to Indiantown. In the spring of 1850, Vincent Matthew Conrad, coming with his family
from Dubuque, became the first settler of Indiantown and made the first land entry
in the county. His daughter, Alice Conrad, born in September 1857, married John
C Livingston. Others followed, looking for new homes. Among these settlers was Jeremiah
Bradshaw in 1851. A short distance from an old Indian village, he established a
store and became the region's first storekeeper. he was a great hunter, and it is
alleged that he had two teams of trained elk which he used on his farm. He was the
first justice of the peace. His son Jeremiah Jr., was the first white boy born in
the county, at Indiantown, September 6, 1852. Indiantown was growing. Bowater Bales,
Benjamin Bales, and V M Bradshaw had settled there, and the first school with its
six pupils had a master by the name of Hazen.
F E Ball, feeling that Indiantown was growing at too rapid a rate, laid out a town
approximately a mile and a quarter west, which he called Iranistan. A saw mill was
started, and Jeremiah Bradshaw moved his store to Iranistan. Indiantown and Iranistan
struggled for supremacy, but were forced to give way to Lewis.
Lewis was established in 1853, located approximately one mile east of Indiantown,
across Nichnabotna River. There was a great deal of opposition to starting a town
there because Conrad and Carey had already planned and plotted their town at Iranistan
and Indiantown. The Charles Theede farm is still laid out in Iranistan town lots
for assessment roll. There was, however, a great deal in favor of building a town
in the new location. The land was county owned; thus the sale of lots would mean
money for the county treasury. The fact that Lewis was in the path of the main traveled
routes for the settlers traveling west and the junction for the two stage coach
lines, were other good reasons for establishing the town here. One of the first
stage coach inns was the old Charlie Camp house.
The naming of Lewis as the county seat was on March 1, 1853; but the lots were not
sold until 1855. These sold at from ten to seventy five dollars a lot. One of the
entries made in the county records indicates that the Methodist Church bought a
lot for ten dollars in 1855.
The building of the town began around what is now Pioneer Park in the east part
of Lewis, Iranistan and Indian town slowly disintegrated, and many of the buildings
were moved into Lewis. In 1853 the first frame house was built by Samuel M Tucker,
a lawyer. This house known as the Hancock House, still stands, across the street
to the east of the Lewis Elementary School. The Court House was built in 1853, on
the south side of Pioneer Park. Jeremiah Bradshaw was made the first county judge,
and C W Woodward was the first Justice of the peace; first marriage June 8 1953,
Alvin Jessup and Harriett Driscoll; third license to G I Chizum and Hannah Bradshaw.
In 1858 Keybeck and Co built the first grist mill in Lewis. Samuel H Tefft operated
a ferry across the river. the ferry became famous during the days of the "underground
railroad", as it was the connecting link between Council Bluffs and eastern Iowa.
The old ferry house is being restored, as it is adjacent to the Hancock House which
has also been restored as part of the Underground Railroad.
Multiple businesses were established around the public square, Pioneer Park. Also
residences of families who are still associated with Lewis. A branch railroad line
was built to Atlantic in 1879, connecting the Rock Island mainline, the first train
ran on Jan 1, 1880. The first newspaper Cass County Gazette started January 1861,
by J C Brown, it continued until 1869 when it was moved to Atlantic and renamed
the Atlantic Messenger., Then in 1880 the Lewis Independent was started, followed
by the Lewis Standard.
Edna Township is located in the southeastern part of Cass County, the second township
from the east, and joined by Adams county on the south. The township had rich fertile
and well drained soil, with the Nodaway River running completely through it from
the northeast corner to the southwest corner. It has a number of tributaries, and
more timber than most of the nearby townships. There were three named natural groves
in the early days – Brenton’s, Edna and Round Grove. The first homes established
were in or near to these groves.
Edna Township originally was all of Noble and Victoria Townships until Cass County
was reorganized in January, 1870. there is no record of when the township was organized.
it is recorded that there was a population of 56 people in Edna Township in 1856.
The Mormon Wagon Trail crossed Edna Township, a monument was erected and a dedication
was held in 1926 at the Reno Methodist Cemetery. William S. Townsend, a Kentuckian
built a log cabin near Indiantown in 1850, thus becoming one of the first three
settlers in this section. In 1852, he and his wife located on Section 20, where
he erected another log cabin. Through Mr Townsend's efforts a post office was established
and it was named after his wife, Edna. It was on the direct route from Afton to
Iranistan. The mail was carried on horseback and the postmaster was Mr. Townsend.
In 1855 John Irwin succeeded him as postmaster. After several years, the post office
was moved to Seven-Mile, or Newlon's Grove, which is in Noble Township across the
road from the Baptist Church which was in Section 6. C. S. Newlon was postmaster
until it was moved to Cumberland. As the population grew the mail was carried by
Harley Howell in an automobile, but when the roads were muddy or bad a team and
buggy was used. Later, Dave Hair had the same problem. Today the roads are graveled.
When the township was organized, about the time of the establishment of the post
office, it was also named Edna. The first religious services in the county were
held at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Townsend in 1854 by Rev. James rand, a Methodist
Episcopal minister and the first death in the township was that of their infant
child. The second death was that of Mary Miller, daughter of Branch Miller whose
rude hunter's cabin , near Edna Grove, represented the home of the second permanent
settler in the township. His daughter was about eighteen years of age, and her remains
were interred on the present site of Edna Cemetery. Benjamin Archer made the coffin
from side boards taken from his wagon. The cemetery is located in Section 21, and
the ground was donated by Edward Porter. A cement building was erected at the cemetery
and everyone in the township goes there to vote. It has less settlers now, but larger
farms due to the large machinery. It produces corn, soybeans, oats, hay , cattle,
hogs and a few sheep. It still has more timber than most townships, this making
good wildlife refuge and hunting. George Wakefield was called Cattle King of Southwest
Iowa because he was the earliest settler to raise and sell the most cattle. Some
other large cattle feeders were William Wohlenhaus, Elmer Edwards and William Anstey.
Several new homes have replaced the old ones. The oldest house, in the township,
though not occupied, is that of Albert Peterman's who in 1898 tore down a log cabin,
and rebuilt it, finishing the log home in 1903 in Section 28. As the town of Reno
began fading away and buildings were either torn down or moved elsewhere. Some were
moved to Cumberland, to be close to the railroad. The need for a general store became
more in demand, Timothy Saunders, who had a garage and sold cars lived in Section
21. He purchased the property in 1903, then moved to Atlantic in 1932, selling to
George Conrad. In 1926, Clarence Havens also built a store on the west side of Highway
N28, in Section 21. The land is now owned by Lloyd Schrier. This was called Longview.
Four years later Oscar Zappe built another store across the road in Section 22,
which burned down. It was thought that sparks from fireworks at the Fourth of July
celebration caused the fire. With these two stores in operation, the people could
take their chickens, eggs and cream to sell and be able to get whatever supplies
they needed. Virgil Coughlin operated one of the stores for two years. In 1936 Joe
and Ted Johnson purchased the first store and moved it one-half mile south where
with the assistance of their sister, Atha, they continued a successful business
for several years. They sold the business to their nephew and wife Donald and Alberta
Merritt Erickson. The store burnt and was rebuilt of brick. The Ericksons had a
residence in the back of the new store. Another operator was Dale Adams, Ronald
and Betty White Cullen, who were the last owners. They sold out lock, Stock and
barrel at a public auction. With the war going on in the 1940's , people not being
able to go very far, it was always a pleasure to go one night a week in the summertime
to an outdoor free movie, and gather with friends at the little country store. This
was a big night for the store. And Oh! how we could get a three or four dipper ice
cream cone for a dime. this was a real treat after a long hot day's work. Joe Johnson's
son Larry and wife Zoe and family lived in the building for several years before
moving to their present residence in Section 34. It was in 1974 that Gerald Wheatley
and wife Coleen gave up farming and purchased the building and some joining ground.
Their son Rick resides in the building now, while his parents live in a trailer
house behind the building. The Wheatleys erected another large building just to
the south of the former store, which is known as Wheatley manufacturing Co. They
manufacture bale loaders, which are attached to the tractors by hydraulic cylinders,
so the farmers can haul their large 3000 pound bales of hay to their cattle much
more easily. Reno, located in Edna Township was platted in 1876 by Edward Porter,
a Pennsylvanian by birth and the father of 13 children. In 1882 he made an addition
to the town. Businesses were J. J. Steen and Breen and Dyer Merchandise; John Dyer
Sr (the first), William Smith and John Dyer Jr., McCoslin later operated by John
Archer Blacksmiths; Jacob Walters Wagon shop; Dr Mosher (first), J. H. Hume and
Dr Snelson-physicians and Dr. Snelson’s Drugstore. The postoffice established in
1853 with Jacob Steen first postmaster. Mail was carried on horseback. It was later
moved to Newlon's Grove and discontinued in 1898. The first birth was Edna Brenton
in 1855. First marriage was John Dyer and Mary Porter, daughter of Edward Porter
in 1856. A flour mill, a frame structure, sixteen by thirty-two feet with sixteen
foot post, furnished with two runs of stone-one for corn and one for wheat and had
balls for making flour, built and operated by A. J. Stewart. School was held in
the log cabin of W. S. Townsend with Nancy Brenton the first teacher. A school house
was built in 1860. With the railroad going to Cumberland, Reno faded away. All that
remained was the church which was built in 1891. It played an important role as
the center of spiritual life. The first religious service held in Reno was at the
residence of W S Townsend in 1854. The church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary
in 1941 while Rev. C W Woolard was minister. Weekly services were held until 1947.
The members transferred to Cumberland. In 1948 the church was sold at auction. William
Gardner, Samuel Whisler, John Leslie and Joseph Edwards, early settlers contributed
much to the town. Mr Gardner went to Missouri and got material for a bridge which
he built across the Nodaway River at his own expense.
Franklin Township was originally part of the Townships of Grant and Turkey Grove
until 1870 when, under state law, the Board of Supervisors reorganized the townships
of the County. Its description became Township 76N -R35. The first settler was Jesse
Eller who came in the spring of 1854. By the late 1800s the township was completely
settled. The township was traversed by the main line of the Rock Island. This was
built in 1868. Wiota was organized in 1873 and is the only town in the township.
The town consisted of two blacksmith shops, two elevators, a stock yard and buying
station, a hotel, three grocery stores, one hardware and implement, a drug and jewelry,
a meat market, two restaurants, a millinery shop, a newspaper, a creamery, a livery
barn, two lodge buildings, barber shop, a bank, two churches, a school of nine grades,
two doctors, a broom factory, a depot, a post office, pool hall, a telephone office,
and other minor services. In 1929 Cass County voted a bond issue to pave roads.
In 1930 Highway 6 was paved from east to west and later that year it was opened
from Des Moines to Omaha. There are two paved roads complete. Highway 83 crosses
from east to west and N28 (County K crosses from north to south. G35 is being paved
as of 1979. Franklin Township has been a farming area and stories of events and
families appear in Cass County History 1980. One of the early settlers Ole J. Ostrus,
son of Ole who came from Norway, via Hudson River, Erie Canal and Lake Michigan
to Chicago, and Leland IL. Ole came to Turkey Grove, a few miles southeast of Atlantic,
where the land had been surveyed and divided into townships and sections, but with
no roads, only prairie trails, few bridges and no fences. Other Norwegian settlers
became neighbors and when a school was built it was called Norway School. Church
services were held in the schoolhouses. After the cream separator was developed,
a skim station was built on the Ostrus farm. A steam engine furnished the power.
Neighbors would come with their whole milk, the cream removed for churning and the
skimmed milk returned to the producer. So many neighbors came, a parking problem
The territory now known as Grant Township constituted a part of what was called
Lura Township, one of the seven original subdivisions of the county, named after
the wife of the pioneer, Dr. Gershom S. Morrison. Lura township was organized by
order of the County Court, in March, 1858. In the latter part of 1865, Grant Township
was organized. In 1870, Grant Township had an election at Morrison's School house,
under the act making the civil and congressional townships uniform. The township
of Grant lies in the extreme northeastern corner of Cass County, and contains about
24,000 acres of land. Both Turkey and Crooked Creeks traverse the territory of Grant
Township, and, with numerous streams, drain and water it most thoroughly. The surface
of the township is a gently rolling land, with a small part being hilly. The first
settlers found little timber, Morrison's grove and a smaller one south of Anita,
Being the only natural groves. Many of the settlers, however, planted groves near
their dwellings, which serve as wind-breaks, conservators of moisture and most attractive
features of the landscape. Dr. G. S. Morrison was the pioneer of the northeastern
portion of Cass County, coming from Bureau County, Illinois, and entered a large
tract of land about a mile southeast of where Anita now stands. Upon it he erected
a large log cabin, in which he lived. He dropped his professional practice almost
entirely and did what he could to develop the country, building roads and bridges.
They staked out a road and bridged the stream for a distance of forty miles, from
Dalmanutha, Guthrie County, to the Nishnabotna River, about two miles from Indiantown.
At that time all such work was done by the settlers without pay as the taxes were
not sufficient to make improvements. In May, 1855, the Western Stage Company put
a line of four-horse coaches from Des Moines to Council Bluffs, with Morrison's
Station, a noted stop on the route as it had become well known from one side of
the state to the other. In 1868, the railroad reached this area, and in 1869, the
rail station was established at this point and from that time, Anita was a fact.
Anita situated southwest of the central point of Grant Township in Sections 21 and
28,. It was originally the property of Lewis Beason, who caused the town to be surveyed
and platted in 1869, but in 1870, he disposed of it to Frank H Whitney, R F Allen
and John P Cook, who were also the principal proprietors of the city of Atlantic,
and who filed the plat of Anita for record on November 10, 1870. To the original
plat, Mr. Whitney made an addition on September 24, 1874, and Norman Haskins, another
on March 13 1879. The town of Anita was incorporated on June 19, 1875. The first
house erected on the town site, was that of C D Bartlett in the spring of 1869.
The first general store in Anita was opened June 20, 1869, by Keith Cate and Co.,
the building on the corner of Chestnut and Main.
The first men to make a permanent settlement around Turkey Creek in Atlantic Township
(now Grove Township) by action of the Board of Supervisors in 1885) were R D McGeehon,
Morris Hoblitt and George Shannon. This was on June 12 1852. Hoblitt later traded
his land to John Kirk and went East to study medicine. He returned to practice medicine
at Grove City. Grove City was platted in 1856, by J. R. Kirk, Albert Wakefield,
D. A. Barnett, A. G. McQueen, A. P. Thayer, V. M. Conrad, J. P. Wheeler and E. W.
Davenport. In 1856, J. R. Kirk erected the chief hotel in Grove City. A cluster
of homes now mark the old location of Grove City, a number of them having been built
in recent years. Rev. William Douthit, an aged Presbyterian minister, started a
"select school" in Grove City in the year 1859. He intended to build it into a college
and sold scholarships to many of the early citizens of the area. Purchasers of scholarships
included Samuel L. Lorah, D. A. Barnett, John R. Kirk., R. D. McGeehon and K. W.
Macomber. he conducted his school for about 2 1/2 years and then gave up the struggle.
The school was held in a small log cabin on D. A. Barnett's farm. At the same time
that Rev. Douthit preached in the area, Miss Mary Curry taught in the first school
in Grove City in 1857. Among the Grove township events were the Old Settlers Picnics,
held for many years. Some of these gatherings were at the old Henry Bell farm. The
Community House, which was built in 1924, was located in Section 21, of Grove Township.
Wm. Shepperd donated the land. It was remodeled from an old building in Atlantic.
Donations kept it in usable condition for a number of years. Nine school districts
held their combined Christmas programs here. Dances sponsored by various organizations,
community gatherings special family celebrations and voting were also held here.
Roy Fancolly was trustee for the last voting and brought the key and a pencil to
Mrs Albert Knop to keep when it was decided to abandon the building. The Final meeting
to be held was by a Farm Bureau Women's Group of Grove Township. In the late 1890's
a Farmers Institute was organized for Cass County with meetings being held in Atlantic
at the Court House. This was for discussions among farmers, nurserymen and housewives
about ways to better their occupations. It was organized with board members how
made the laws for the group and whose responsibility it was to keep members advised
on agricultural science. These institutes were held before Farm Bureau was organized.
Two of the oldest clubs in existence are the Country Club which was organized in
1914 as a social club. This group celebrated its 50th anniversary and is still active.
The Busy Bee Club started meeting in 1906; women from western Franklin Township
and eastern Grove Township were members. Atlantic, formed in 1868, was a thriving
county seat town at the start of the twentieth century, with no other towns of comparable
size within forty miles. It was well served by the Rock Island Railroad, the Atlantic
Northern, and the Atlantic Southern. The main road east and west was the White Pole
Road between Des Moines and Omaha.
By Mrs. Frank Berry
Grove Township, Turkey Grove Township, Atlantic, Grove
Grove Township has legally used the above names. In 1856 Turkey Grove was one of
the original townships in Cass County.
On June 11, 1870, when the county was reorganized into congressional townships,
it became Atlantic.
The legal description is Township 76, north, Range 36, west, of the Fifth Principal
Meriden. It is located in the second tier of townships from the north and the third
from the east line of the county.
The east Nishnabotna River enters Grove Township in the northeast corner of Section
5, crosses that and part of 7. Just before it leaves the township it receives the
water from Buck Creek. It flows into Washington Township near the middle of the
west line of Section 7.
Turkey Creek enters the township on the northeast quarter of Section 13, through
which it passes, crosses 14, 22, 27, 33, 32, and 31. It passes into Bear Grove Township
on the southwest quarter of Section 31. Flowing into Turkey Creek as it passes the
township is Eller Branch, Jim Branch and Lone Tree Branch.
Troublesome Creek enters Grove Township from the north in Section 1, makes a loop,
passes back into Pymosa Township and comes back into Grove in Section 3, crossing
that section, 4 and part of 5, then turns north again and joins the Nishnabotna
Troublesome Creek is 27 miles long and rises in Guthrie County. Some straightening
has been done on it. A conservation program is planned which will take several years
to carry out and will help to keep it on good behavior during heavy rains. There
are numerous small streams in the township. One is Bull Creek which causes a lot
of trouble at times in Atlantic.
The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad crosses the township, along with U.S.
6 and 71 Highways.
Grove Township had an abundance of timber in the early days. Turkey Grove covered
the greater part of Sections 13. 14, 23 and 24. There was a large grove where Grove
City was laid out in Section 11.
Johnson's Grove was south and west of Atlantic and many smaller groves were scattered
over the township. The surface of Grove Township is rolling and the soil is rich
First Permanent Settlers
Three young single men came to Turkey Grove July 13, 1852. They were R. D. McGeehon,
Morris Hoblitt and George Shannon.
By Jim Carey
Lincoln township, technically known as Township 76 North, Range 34 West, was organized
on June 11, 1870. Before being known as Lincoln, this township was called Lura and
Lincoln Township is situated in the eastern tier of Cass County with Grant Township
on the north, Eureka Township (Adair County) on the east, Messena Township on the
south and Franklin Township on the west. Iowa Highway #148 runs north and south
through the center of the township. There are no towns in Lincoln Township.
In 1906 there were nine school districts (country schools) in Lincoln Township.
Students now go to Anita or Massena for their education.
Lincoln Center Cemetery is the only cemetery in Lincoln Township. It is located
in the northwest corner of the northeast quarter of Section 21. Lincoln Center Cemetery
was organized in February 1877. The three acre tract of land was purchased from
Mr. M. V. Robinson for $40.00 per acre. Lots were priced from $5 to $12.50. Mr.
J. F. Dwigans purchased Lot #1. Mr. Dwigans purchased the fence material for the
cemetery and hauled it to the cemetery site, for this he received $8 credit on his
lot purchase. In 1899 the overseer of the cemetery received an annual salary of
Lincoln Township Hall was built on a one acre tract of land donated by the C. H..
DeWald family in 1887. The hall was used by the Methodist Church for many years.
In 1926 the hall was sold for $300.00. The hall has had many uses, including plays,
box socials and debates. It has also been used by the 4-H and as election headquarters
for the township.
The White Cloud Literary Society was formed during the 1913-1914 school term at
the White Cloud School located two miles south of the Township hall. The society
was formed as a debating club but as interest grew many other forms of entertainment
were added. The society held these activities at the Township Hall every other Friday
night between the end of the corn harvest and when work began in the spring. Some
of the performances were: a mock trial with a well known spinster suing an equally
well known bachelor for $10,000 for a breach of promise; the jury found the defendant
guilty shortly before midnight and awarded the plaintiff the sum of $2.49. Debates
were also held, some serious and some humorous, ie: Prohibition; Should a woman
be President?; Is it better to be an old man's darling than a young man's slave?;
Does a sweet slouch make a better wife than a neat slouch?
The following article was taken from the Mar. 25, 1915 issue of the Anita Tribune
The first permanent settler within the borders of Lincoln township was William Thompson, a native of Ohio, who emigrated with his family from Indiana and settled in section 5 in the fall of 1856.
A short time later they moved to section 4 and erected a log cabin upon the land which they entered there.
In 1875 they left for Arkansas, but later returned to Lincoln township.
John Wogan, a German, was second settler in the township, in section 5. In 1860 Jacob Gant came to the township, being the third settler. The next two settlers were men by the name of Furbish and Dabney.
Willard Talbott Came to the township in 1868. Mr. Talbott was the first justice of peace in the township. The next settlement made by Andrew Trimmer in 1869. He located in section 17.
William T. Smither came a short time after Mr. Trimmer and entered land in section 11.
In February, 1870, W.S. Sherman emigrated from Illinois and located in section 9. J.W. Fuson settled in the township in 1870 on land in section 35. C.S. Leymaster settled also in 1870 on land in section 35.
Levi Thornton also located in section 35 the same time as Leymaster, J.B. and D.S. West settled in the township on section 11 during 1870. Seth H. Felt came to the township with his father, Charles M. Felt, in 1869. C.M. Felt bought 800 acres of land from the railroad company and his son bought 160 acres. E.D. Allen came in 1870 and located in section 6.
After 1870 settlers came to the township very fast.
Lincoln was named after Abraham Lincoln. The township had a population of 190 in 1873 and 570 in 1880.
The official organization of Lincoln township took place on June 11, 1870 at the residence of Andrew Trimmer, and Mr. Trimmer as the organizer.
At the first election held in the township in the fall of 1870, the following officers were elected:
C.M. Felt, clerk; H. Van Schaack, assessor; Andrew Trimmer, H. Van Schaack, and James Harrison, trustees; W.S. Sherman and J.B. West, road supervisors.
The first election held in Lincoln township was held in October 1870 at which nine votes were polled.
The first school house built in the township was in the spring of 1871, it being erected on the southeast corner of section 8, at a cost of $700. The first school board was composed of Andrew Trimmer, president; H. Van Schaack, secretary; J.M. Blankesley, treasurer; C.M. Felt, L.B. West and J.M. Blakesley, directors.
Miss Anna Griffith taught in the first school, during the winter of 1870-71, at the residence of Mrs. Grant, with seven pupils enrolled.
The first religious services held in the township were in the township were in 1872 by Rev. C.P. West, a Universalist minister.
William Thompson plowed the first ground and sowed the first grain in Lincoln township, during the spring of 1858.
The first marriage known of residents of Lincoln township, was that of Charles M. Felt and Julia Hummerick, in December of 1870. The marriage occurred in Franklin township.
Lincoln Township Firsts
William Thompson plowed the first ground and sowed the first grain in the spring
of 1858. The first marriage of Lincoln Township residents was that of Charles M.
Felt and Julia Humerick in December 1870. The ceremony occurred in Franklin Township.
Nine votes were polled in the first election, held for township officers in the
fall of 1870. Seven of the voters were elected to office. The first religious services
were held in 1872 by Rev. C. P. West, a Universalist minister. The first burial
in the cemetery was that of Mrs. Abram Biggs.
By Veronica Lary
Massena Township is located in the eastern tier of townships of Cass County and
is a full congressional subdivision. It is bounded on the north by Lincoln Township
, on the east by Adair County, on the south by Victoria Township and on the west
by Union Township.
The land is of a very rich, productive quality and is gently rolling with but little
land which is untillable. There is no timber of natural growth within the borders
of the township but the artificial groves are quite numerous and thrifty. The west
branch of the Nodaway river and numerous smaller branches of this body of water
traverse the township in all directions, producing plenty of water for livestock
and farm use.
The first settlement made in Massena Township was that of Frank H Whitney who settled
at Whitneyville in July of 1858. He immediately erected a small board shanty on
the land in Section 8 and soon began breaking prairie. Mr. Whitney moved to Atlantic,
and became involved in the banking business. A cousin of Frank H was Eric Whitney,
the second settler of Massena Township; he settled in Section 8 in the fall of 1858.
William S Whitney, son of Eric Whitney, was born in Oswego County, New York, September
28, 1845 and came to Iowa with his parents in 1856. William S Whitney served as
postmaster at Whitneyville for thirteen years from 1866 to 1879.
John Sears kept the Western Stage Co. stage station, three miles from Whitneys.
They ran a line from Iowa City, the end of the C.R.I&P.R.R. to Council Bluffs.
The town of Massena was platted by the Chicago and Burlington RR on land purchased
from A. Vredenburgh in 1883-1884. The incorporated town was platted in 1886 . First
meeting of the council was March 21, 1887.. According to the Massena Dispatch dated
December 25, 1885, Massena had from February that year grown from a town of 8 buildings
to over 100 buildings. Dick Darby who invented commercial ice cream, was living
in Massena at the time. He used rennet to thicken the ice cream, and sold his rights
to a firm in Chicago early in 1900.
Before the townships were organized Samuel Taylor McCormick, a resident of Massena
Township, along with twelve others, organized the township of Massena. He was elected
a trustee and held the office for several years. He moved to Cass County in the
spring of 1870 and died in 1883 from a farm accident.
Samuel M Holaday came to Cass County in 1867 from Vermillion County, Indiana and
served as secretary of the board of trustees, a member of the school board and had
been treasurer and assessor of the township. Another important personality for the
history of Massena Township was Luma W Stone, born in St Lawrence County, New York
on 3 April 1841. He came to Cass County in 1870 and settled in what is now Massena
Township. He assisted in organizing the township and gave it the name of Massena
after his birth place in St Lawrence County. He was one of the first township trustees.
John H Yarger, born in Pennsylvania, came to Massena Township in 1875. he, along
with the other early settlers, engaged in farming in this rich farmland. He served
as a trustee and as justice of the peace.
Rural schools were built in the years from 1871 to 1884 and the costs ranged from
$335 to $575. Before the school in District No. 9 was built, school was taught in
the district in a house belonging to Cornelius Denham, on Section 20 by Pauline
On 27 October, 1877, the trustees of Massena Township purchased four acres of land
on Section 16 at $12.50 per acre and laid it out for cemetery purposes.
There is only one rural church serving the spiritual needs of the people, located
in Massena Township and that is the Pine Grove United Methodist church.
Farming methods have changed greatly in the last 25 years and the farmers in the
area have kept pace with everyone else in Cass County. Most of the roads have gone
from dirt to gravel with Highway 148 being paved in 1972.
Business located in the country outside city limits of Massena: Massena Implement
Co. owned by Mr and Mrs Harold Dygert, the Massena Farm Center, Inc. managed by
Ron and Mary ellen Yarger and Donald Clouse, Standard Oil Fertilizer plant by Kenny
and Donna Waters, Stanley Well Co. by Phil Ridout and Massena Auto Sales by Jim
By Kent and Kathy Morris
Noble Township was broken off Edna Township 11 June 1870 when Cass County was
reorganized. It comprises all of congressional township 74 N, R 36 W and is bordered
on the north by Bear Grove Township, on the east by Edna Township on the west of
Pleasant Township and on the south by Montgomery County. The first township officers
were: Uriah Daft, Henson S. Liston and William E. Buckley. The clerk was E. J. Shields.
John Rose arrived in 1855 but was killed two years later while visiting the flour
mill in Lewis. A petition was presented to name the new township Rose in his honor.
The Rose Branch of Seven Mile Creek was named for him when Melton Smith came about
1857. Uriah Daft arrived from Ripon, Wisconsin in 1858 staking out a claim in Section
28 where he built a cabin. Thomas G. Davis also arrived in 1858. He married Amanda
J. West of Indiana in 1860.
The 1860's brought more settlers to Noble Township: E. J. Shields, J. C. Davis,
Robert B. Newlon, Henson S. Liston, Wm. E. Buckley, Joseph Weirich and Henry Ackerman.
E. J. Shields, from Ohio, came to Cass County in 1864 settling a claim in Section
32. With his wife, Sarah Jenkins, he had six children. He selected the name for
Noble Township. J. C. Davis, younger brother of Thomas G. Davis, was born in Pennsylvania.
He settled in Section 33 and married twice. Robert B. Newlon was born in Indiana
and raised in Illinois. He settled in Section 1. After traveling to California,
Nicaragua and back to Illinois he enlisted in the Union Army. Mr. Newlon was the
father of ten children. Henson S. Liston of West Virginia fought on the Union side.
After the war he settled on 80 acres in Section 1. William E. Buckley, a native
of New York also served in the Army during the Civil War. He was a prisoner at Andersonville
for nine months. He married Mary Piper also of New York in September 1866. They
lived in Noble Township 12 years then moved to Edna Township and later to Bear Grove
Township. Joseph Weirich was considered the first German settler on the township.
He was from Bavaria Germany where he was a coal miner. He came to New York City
in 1846 and shortly moved to the mining areas of Pennsylvania and later on to Illinois.
During the war coal prices were high and he and his family could make $25 a day.
In 1869 he sold out in Illinois and purchased 200 acres in Section 25 of Noble Township.
In 1884 he from his improved farm to Griswold. Henry Ackerman, also from Germany,
first came to Illinois. He married Candace McKernan in 1862 then enlisted in the
infantry. In 1869 he sold his Illinois property and came to Cass County. On January
1, 1870 he moved 160 acres in Section 27 of Noble Township. Over the years he increased
his holdings to 440 acres. He was the father of eight children.
Noble Township was divided into nine school district, each comprising four sections
of land. School was first taught in 1859 in District 8 in a private home by Mary
Hardenbergh. The next year a building was erected in Section 28. It was used until
1872 when it was sold and a new building built in Section 27, District 2 built a
school house in 1868 in Section 4. It was sold to William Smith and a new one built
in Section 9. Frank Sherwood was its first teacher. The first school in District
9 was erected in 1871 in Section 30. Frank Sherwood was District 5's school building
was built in 1871 in Section 22. Lizzie Ely opened it. District 1's first schoolhouse
was built in 1873 and was opened by Mary Dickerson, located in Section 12. District
7 erected a schoolhouse in 1875 located in Section 25. John Andrews was the first
teacher. The first schoolhouse in District 6 was built in 1878 in Section 14. Edward
A. Baer was the first teacher. The school building for District 3 was in Section
8 and the building for District 4 was in Section 17.
The German Evangelical Association of Noble Township held it first meeting in the
home of Christian Knoke in Section 10. By 1871 Rev. William King was the first pastor
and holding services in the homes of Michael Lentz and Joseph Weirich. Later Rev.
Klinefelter held services in the schoolhouses No. 2, No. 8, and No. 5. Newlon's
Grove Baptist Church was formed 17 January 1872 at Jacob T. Martin's home by Rev.
C. Brooks and Rev. J. Currier. Evangelical St. John's Church first held services
in 1872 at the home of Christ Mueller in Section 15. Rev. William Buerhring held
services in schoolhouses No. 5 and No. 2 until 1884 when a church was dedicated
in Section 15.
The first interment was in German Cemetery in Section 15 on land donated by Joseph
Weirich. In December 1871, Franklin Weirich, son of V. J. and Caroline Knoke Weirich
was buried on land donated by his grandfather.
By Willard and Gladys Muller
Noble Township was known for many years as a German Settlement. Many pioneers coming
to Noble Township from Germany had first stopped in Illinois and Pennsylvania. that
sub-division of Cass County which is known as Noble Township lies in the south tier
and is bounded on the north by Bear Grove, on the east by Edna , on the west by
Pleasant, and on the south by Montgomery County.
The first white man to make a settlement in Noble township, was John Rose, in 1855.
Mr. Rose met his death in a tragic manner about the year of 1857. On a cold day
in that year he was in the Lewis flour mill, wearing a shawl wrapped around his
throat. The shawl caught in some of the mill gearing and Mr. Rose was drawn so tightly
against the machinery that he was choked to death. Two of Mr. Rose's sons lived
in Montgomery county. At one time, a petition was presented to the Board of Supervisors,
asking them to call it Rose Township, but the petition was not granted.
Melton Smith was the second settler to locate in Noble Township. He came in 1857,
and took up a claim. The next who came within the borders was Uriah Daft. From Ripon,
Wisconsin, this family started on their overland journey, and continued a southwestward
course, inspecting the country as they went, arriving in Noble township on October
18, 1858. It was the beauty of the country which met their view and presented too
strong a temptation to be resisted, so they determined to stop and build a house.
They staked out a claim on Section 28, and erected a cabin - the second house in
Noble Township is intersected by West Nodaway River, Seven-Mile Creek, Three-Mile
Creek, and the Rose Branch of Seven -Mile. Rose Branch begins west of Highway #71
at Lyman and flows southward, inclining a little toward the west, till it passes
out of the township.
Other early settlers were Thomas Davis, in 1858, and J C Davis in 1867. The first
German settlers of Noble township were Joseph Weirich, Henry Ackerman, and Henry
Schwarzenbach. They came from Illinois the fall of 1869, journeying overland, their
household goods packed in their wagons. In 1869, others came west to Noble Township:
Herman and John Pringey, Henry Pelzer and Levi Mountain. In 1870, these pioneers
also came west: Jacob Hampel, Gustav Rothe, Christopher J Muller, George Gerlach,
William Lindeman, Henry Muller, Ernest Dolch, Joseph Eshelman, Christian Knoke,
and William Ackerman.
At this time the pioneers had many difficulties to contend with - the long journey
from civilization to their prairie homes. The route was through rough country, swamps
and marshes. Rivers were forded with difficulty and roads were mostly trails from
one settlement to another. Nights were passed on open prairies with the sod for
a bed and the heavens for a shelter. Long weary days and weeks of travel were endured
and finally the:"promised land" was reached.
It involved a life of toil and hardship, but it was the life that made men of character.
Boys were required to do their share of the hard labor of cleaning up the farm;
the country was at one time heavily timbered or covered with a dense thicket of
hazel brush and young timber. Southwest Iowa was known as prairie land. The rolling
hills of Cass County were covered with waving prairie grasses, intermingled with
many different kinds of wild flowers. Along the streams and in groves was much heavy
timber, being mostly cottonwood, black walnut, elm, soft maple, oak, hickory and
others. Wild gooseberries, blackberries, strawberries, crab apples, plums and many
others were found in abundance.
Buffalo and Indians still roamed the plains. The Indians were mostly on reservations
and really did not cause too much trouble. However, one story was told by Viola
Muller Sunderman. She remembers when several Indians came to their house when she
was a small girl. "They did not knock on the door , just opened it and walked in,
took a chair - pulled it over to the stove. Opened the oven door and stuck their
feet in to warm them," she said, "We smaller children were plenty scared." After
the feet were warmed to the right temperature, they left the same way all the while
not having said one word.
Those who came west a little later were: Henry Kuester, John Lary, J. B. Hall and
Charles Hully in 1872. In 1873, Justus Gerlach, John Tanner , John and William Berg,
and Herman Dolch, In 1874, Fritz Saemisch and George Eppelsheimer. In 1875, it was
Jacob Wasmer, Robert Miller, and Simon Sunderman.
Noble Township felt the tragedy of WW II as it had felt the tragedy of World War
I. there were many young men in Noble Township who marched away to serve their country
in these great global conflicts. There was not a heart in the community which did
not share the sorrow and the heartbreak with the families whose sons did not return
from the battlefields.
When the telephone was new and still referred to as a ' modern contraption,' calling
someone was often considered a strange and wonderful experience. It was also complicated,
especially when calling out of your own area.
The Muller families were pioneers in many ways, besides settling on virgin territory,
they had the first telephones in this part of the country. Telephone instruments
and wire were ordered from catalogs, then installed by members of the families.
At first, only the immediate families were connected, then later spread out in several
directions. In fact it increased to the point where a switchboard was necessary.
The first one was placed in the Henry Muller home and members of his family were
trained to operate the switchboard as he had a large family. Then later the operation
was transferred to the H. Christopher Muller home and Aunt Cass (Catherine Gerlach)
Muller handled the switchboard. It was sometime later the telephone company from
Griswold had new lines. They wanted her to pay $12.00 per year for local service
but she strenuously objected. The final outcome - the company agreed if she would
give up her service they would give her free local service, and that was all she
really wanted anyway.
Electricity came to Noble Township in 1928. The Lyman merchants and Muller hatchery
were the first to be connected. Leander (Tiny) Kistler was born about 1911, the
son of James and Minnie Kistler. He attended country school at Polk Corner, Noble
#1. When he was about six or seven years old he became ill with Spinal Meningitis,
which upset his glandular system, and he began to gain weight. His top weight was
about 495 pounds. He was quite an attraction when people saw him for the first time.
He was usually in the parades at the Griswold Reunion and was in some of the events
at the County Fair.
Tiny and Delbert Coon fixed a model T Ford by shortening the wheel base. Delbert
would drive and Leander would sit in the back seat, when he would lean back the
front wheels would come off the ground and when he leaned forward the front wheels
would come back down. In the 1930's he traveled with a circus for about two years
and married a lady who was also with the circus. Her name was Mary. Leander (Tiny)
died in California of a heart problem. Clifford Sunderman remembers when he worked
for John Wohlenhaus they special-ordered overalls for him, 24 inch inseam and a
92 inch waits. Later Key Overall Co. furnished the special-made order at no cost
as he wore them at all of his performances.
Business in Noble Township, besides those in Lyman are: Sunderman Service Station
and tank wagon service in 1941; Muller Grain Elevator was built in 1954 and later
enlarged; Hoye Inc., started construction on a grain elevator in 1956, and later
fertilizer and a shop were added; Steinbeck and Sons, fertilizer and L.P. Gas started
in 1959; Muller Brothers Piggery in 1969; and in 1970, Clifford Sunderman started
a greenhouse and nursery.
U.S highway #71 was completely regraded and paved in 1970-71. It was rerouted around
Lyman. Lyman had its origin about 1885 when L.H. Conrad and his wife Anne Blazier,
purchased an acre of land and proceeded to erect a general store upon it. Surrounded
by corn and fields of other grain in southwestern Iowa in Cass County, the seed
of a town was sown. In due time, the government upon request saw fit to grant a
post office. It was called Lyman in honor of Mr. Joseph Lyman who was serving the
southwest district of Iowa at that time as a congressman in the House of Representatives
in Washington, DC. Mr. George Gerlach bought the store after the death of Mr. Conrad.
He had to make two trips a week to Council Bluffs to deliver the cream and eggs
which had been purchased from the farmers, the trip made by team and wagon. Supplies
for the store were returned, the round trip took two days and even bad weather seldom
saw a cancellation. In 1911, Gerlach sold the building and the stock to Mr. and
Mrs. H L Netz.
When Cass county was reorganized in 1870 so that its sixteen Congressional townships
should correspond to the civil divisions, the old township of Edna was divided into
Victoria, Edna and Noble townships., technically known as township 74 north, range
36 west. It lies in the southern tier of townships, the second from the west. Bounded
on the north by Bear Grove, on the east by Edna, on the west by Pleasant and on
the south by Montgomery county. The township was divided into nine school districts
each comprising four sections of land. Each district has a neat school house. The
first school taught in a private house in 1859.
The old Edna post office established in 1853, was moved to Newlon's Grove. When
the Atlantic Southern RR was built in 1880 the post office was discontinued.
Noble township was known for many years as a German Settlement. The first white
man to settle was John Rose in 1855. In 1857 Mr. Rose met a tragic death, as he
was in Lewis flour mill wearing a shawl wrapped around his throat. The shawl caught
in some of the mill gearing and Mr. Rose was drawn against the machinery, and choked
Melton Smith was the second settler in Noble in 1857 when he took up a claim. Next
in 1858 was Uriah Daft, locating on section 28 near the Rose Branch of Seven Mile
Creek, and living there until his death in 1873. They left from Ripon, Wisconsin,
traveling southwest and finally on Oct 18th 1858, they camped on a beautiful spot
which they could not leave, and there erected the second house in the Township.
That same year Thomas Davis purchased land in Noble township, and in 1860 married
Amanda J West., a native of Indiana. In 1861 they started by ox team for Colorado;
the young bride drove the team and the husband the livestock. They traveled from
May 4th until late in June. They reached Black Hawk City where Mr. Davis worked
in teaming, and finally moved to Noble, and purchased land in section 28, where
he improved a fine farm and lived till he died Sept 6 1883.
Noble Township is intersected by West Nodaway River, Seven-Mile Creek, Three-Mile
Creek and the Rose Branch of Seven- Mile. The 60's brought a number of German settlers,
the first of these were: Joseph Weirich, Henry Ackerman, and Henry Schwarzenbach,
coming from Illinois overland with their household goods packed in their wagons.@
In 1869, others came: Herman and John Pringey, Henry Pelzer and Levi Mountain. In
1870 these pioneers also came: Jacob Hampel, Gustav Rothe, Christopher J Muller,
George Gerlach, William Lindeman, Henry Muller, Ernest Dolch, Joseph Eshelman, Christian
Knoke, and Wm Ackerman.
Many difficulties faced them: the long journey from civilization, the route through
rough country, swamps and marshes, rivers to ford, roads mostly being trails. Nights
passed on open prairies with the sod for a bed and the heavens for a shelter, until
finally the 'promised land' of Noble Township was reached. This also involved a
life of hardship and toil, but it was the life which made men of Character. Southwest
Iowa was prairie land , covered with waving prairie grasses, with many kinds of
wild flowers. along the streams and in the groves was much heavy timber, cottonwood,
black walnut, elm, soft maple, oak, hickory and others. Wild gooseberries, blackberries,
strawberries, crab apples, plums and many others were found. Buffalo and Indians
still roamed the plains, not causing too much trouble.
Those who came later were: Henry Kuester, John Lary, J B Hall and Charles Hully
in 1872. In 1873 Justus Gerlach, John Tanner, John and Wm Berg, and Herman Dolch.
In 1874, Fritz Saemisch and George Eppelsheimer. In 1875, Jacob Wasmer, Robert Miller
and Simon Sunderman.
Churches soon flourished in Noble Township - the Germans organized the German Evangelical
Association of Noble Township in 1871. The second being the Newlon's Grove Baptist
Church in 1872, and Evangelical St John's Church in 1872. The German Cemetery or
Weirich was founded in 1871.
The telephone came about WW I, and then electricity in 1928. About 1885, the town
of Lyman was born when L H Conrad and his wife put up a general store, named for
Joseph Lyman a Representative from SW Iowa. George Gerlach bought the store and
made two trips a week to Council Bluffs to deliver the cream and eggs, and supplies
for the store were brought on the return trip. The round trip took two days, and
seldom cancelled as Old Dobbin proved more trustworthy than today's modern trucks.
A major improvement was when Highway 71 was graded and paved in 1933.
from Cass County History 1980
Pleasant Township was originally a part of Cass township, and was set off from
it in 1870, when the county was reorganized to make civil township coincide with
Its topography and uniform productiveness of the soil make it one of the most desirable
sections in the county which gives special significance to its name
Pleasant Ridge is a road that passes through one of the prettiest pieces of farming
land in the west. It begins between Sections One and Two and extends southward the
length of the township. It was named by John and Lucinda Lowman in 1884 who located
in Section 34. They also deeded a portion of their land as a cemetery.
A Christian Church was built on this plat. Services were held there until August
1928 when a tornado destroyed the church.
Many of the early settlers of Iowa came in covered wagons following the Mormon Trail
to find homes in Pleasant Township. William Baughman drove his prairie schooner
from Keokuk and built the first log house in Pleasant Township in 1856 on the farm
now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Cousins one mile east of Griswold.
There were two more churches built on Pleasant Ridge. The Methodist Church in 1880
was built on land donated by the Grinnell Estate, four miles east and one mile south
of Griswold. Services were discontinued several years before it was sold by auction
to Rube Hall September 6, 1917. Truman Davis moved it to Mr. Hall's farm where it
still stands along Highway #92, five and a half miles east of Griswold.
In 1893 the Presbyterian Church was built one mile north of the Methodist Church.
It was known as the Bethel Church. The land was donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Forsyth.
It was dedicated in 1893 and closed in 1919 or 1920. It was torn down in 1923.
This closed the era of country churches in this township. The advent of the automobile
made it possible for farmers to go into town to church. Rural mail routes were begun
in 1901. Telephones were installed about 1910 with several families on one line.
The dial telephone system was put in 1952, and was converted to private telephones
Many changes have taken place in the schools. The one-room schools have all been
removed and all children are bussed to Griswold since reorganization was voted in
1956 and took effect in 1958. Grant was added in 1959, Elliott in 1962 and Lewis
There has been much improvement in the roads. Practically all country roads are
gravelled since 1930-40. The main road through the township from Lyman to Griswold,
first was gravel, then paved in the 1950s. New automobiles came into use. This road
was called the White Pole Road with all telephone poles painted white. Then it was
called #100 and now it is a part of #92 which runs across the United States.
Another big change came when electricity was brought into the township. In 1917
a group of about a dozen farmers near Griswold built their own line. They even read
their own meters. In the late 1930’s, the line was in need of repair so Iowa Power
and light took over the line. But it wasn't until about 1948 that the rest of the
residents received electricity from REA. A few farmers before this had their own
Delco plants. Electricity made life on the farm much easier and more comfortable.
During the years 4-H Clubs for the boys and girls have been organized. Farm Bureau
for the mothers and fathers brought much pleasure, social life and information into
the township in the days following WW I.
On Nov 19 1879, Mr. John Rezner deeded 360 acres of land in Pleasant Township to
the CB&Q RR. Part of this land was to be the site of a new town. This was eight
miles south of Lewis. C E Perkins was purchasing agent for the CB&Q RR. Mr. Perkins
accepted the deed for the area as trustee. The town remained under a trusteeship
until April 1881. The Rock Island RR ran south from Atlantic. The town was built
on the southeast 1/4 of Section Six. The Main Street was laid out one hundred feet
wide through the whole town. Henry Miller cleared away the corn stalks and erected
the first house, it was owned by Frank Whitney, but the Ed Peck family moved into
it and ran a boarding house.
By Janet Aunan
Pymosa Township comprises the territory known as Township 77, Range 36, lying just
north of the town of Atlantic. It was organized in August of 1855, and reorganized
in 1870. It bears the name of the old Pottawattamie Chief, Pymosa, and the only
recorded information available is that his grave was between Oakfield and the Cass
Co Line, and was sighted by the Mormons before it crumbled away.
Pioneers settled near a river and wooded areas to provide water from the rivers
for their livestock , and groves provided wood for fuel and lumber for their log
cabins. Pymosa Township was rich in these resources with the Nishnabotna River which
flows diagonally through the township from northeast to southwest, and Buck Creek
has its source in numerous little rivulets commencing in the northwestern part of
the township and flowing with a general southerly course until it passes into Brighton
Township at the southwest corner. A portion of the woodland in the Five Mile Grove
area was divided into a number of wood plots to provide wood for the early settlers.
Five Mile Grove received its name because it was five miles from the Big Grove,
a large grove of trees from which Indians and early settlers measured distance and
Lamb's Lake, formerly known as Gingery Lake, which has dwindled in size, still exists
in Section 27, now owned by Charles Gipple, Sr. This was not only used for fishing,
skating and harvesting ice to be stored for summer use, but also used for baptismal
ceremonials by early settlers.
In 1865, the main access road was known as the Stage Road, which was two miles northeast
of Atlantic. In 1874, there was one road known as the "Old Ridge Road' and the rest
were just trails. These have been replaced by the Olive Street Road which extends
from the city limits of Atlantic north to the Interstate. Early settlers saw many
emigrant wagons, in summer going north and then returning south, and also roving
horse traders, gypsies and pack peddlers.
In the summer of 1852, James L Byrd built a cabin in Section 30, and is believed
to be the first permanent settler in Pymosa Township. The first frame dwelling in
the township was built in the fall of 1855 by Samuel Knepper on Section 2. About
1874, larger houses were being built, and the smaller ones moved back and used for
tool sheds or other uses.
An historical marker is located in Section 34, which is the site of the Newton Ridge
Trail, a stage coach line that came through the area from Guthrie County - 1853-70;
site of the Gingery Log Cabin School, first school in Pymosa township - 1863-78;
and also the River to River Road, which started in Davenport and ended in Council
Bluffs - 1909 (believed to be first route across Iowa used by motor vehicles).
The Pymosa Post Office established in the spring of 1855 at the log cabin of James
Brinkerhoff in Section 11, was probably the second post office established in the
county. Although the mail was not delivered directly, it was brought by local residents
from the Cold Springs Post Office at Iranistan, which was on the through Stage route
east and west.
Ambrose Pellett, who lived in Five Mile Grove, built a mill on the Nishnabotna River
in 1879. Later the building was moved to the Clarence Pellett farm and used as a
The first religious services were held in the township at the log cabin of James
Kincaid in the winter of 1854-55. The class of the Buck Creek M.E. Church was organized
in 1861, and their first church building erected in 1874 was demolished by a storm.
A second church built in 1904 was burned when struck by lightning, and the present
building was erected in 1925. The Five Mile Grove M E Church was organized in August,
1881, and that church building erected in 1882, but is no longer in existence. A
Methodist Church had also been built in Lorah in the 1880s, and used as a Methodist
Church and then a Presbyterian Church before being taken down about 1933.
The first school in the township was opened by Tamar E Lorah, daughter of Judge
Lorah, in her father's frame house on Section 14, during the summer of 1856, which
later became the town of Lorah. This was the second frame building to be erected
in Pymosa Township. In the 1860s, the township was organized into nine school districts.
In 1954, the voters of the township voted to consolidate the school districts, and
build one large school building. In 1955, a modern school building was built on
the North Olive Street Road, and the Pymosa School opened in Sept, 1955. this building
was used as an elementary school until 1972, when the students were bused to Atlantic.
In Atlantic City Park is a pioneer cabin built in 1865 by John Gingery on Sect 27
of Pymosa Township, and was used as a school in the mid-sixties. A house had been
built over the cabin, and found intact when the house dismantled. There was an Indian
mound along the Nishabotna River southeast of the Charles Gipple home.
By Wilma Eilts
Union Township is located in the third tier from the north and second from the
east line of Cass County. When first made a township in 1854, it was larger and
called Lura. In September 1858, it was again surveyed and renamed Breckinridge after
the vice president. But as he was a major general in the Confederate army, there
was strong sentiment against the south and the name was changed to Union.
Union Township consists of 23,040 acres, was once an open rolling prairie with some
of the most productive land in the county, most of which is tillable. Most of the
timber is along Seven Mile Creek which runs a diagonal course from north to south
through the township.
The highest elevation in Cass County is in Union Township. This is 1,317 feet on
the first hill south of Cumberland. The Mormon cart trail crossed Union Township.
Peter Hedges came from Illinois in the fall of 1850 to be the first settler in Union
Township. He took up a claim on Seven Mile Creek, later known as Gaylord's Grove.
he became a member of the first Board of Supervisors, meeting for the first time
at the court house in Lewis, January 7, 1861.
Hedges was followed by Cyrus Newton, William Perkins, Isaac Johnson and many others,
who didn't stay long enough to improve their land so couldn't be counted as residents.
The deep ruts of the old stage coach trails have disappeared, as well as most of
the dirt roads which were kept passable by horse-drawn wooden drags, which were
replaced by gravel and black top surfaces. Two paved roads, one east and west and
other north and south, cross the township. Thus grain and livestock are shipped
by truck to Major markets.
The first post office in the township was established March 9, 1858 in Section 10.
Peter Hedges was the first postmaster. This office was later moved and named Whitneyville.
Later mail came by rail to Cumberland with carriers driving horses taking mail to
the farm families. Now the mail is delivered to Cumberland Post Office by motor
vehicles, with two carriers delivering mail to every farm home.
The first settler in Union Township was Peter Hedges, who in the fall of 1850, came
from Logan Co, IL., and took up a claim on Seven Mile Creek known as Hickory Grove,
later named Hedges. About 1863 he sold out to D E Gaylord who built a log cabin
to provide shelter and an eating place for travelers and a large barn to shelter
people and horses, This stage stop known as Gaylord's Grove. The barn, built of
Black walnut is in good condition today. It took two years to hand-hew the twenty-foot
upright logs and thirty-foot cross members. Joints were morticed and pegged, held
together with wooden pins. Cement pillars were installed by Pettinger when he lived
When U S Government began selling land in 1856, surveyors came using natural landmarks.
One landmark, Majestic Hill, in Union Township, towered 1,320 feet above bottom
lands of Seven Mile Creek. too steep for oxen pulling loaded wagons, they followed
a deer trail around the slope calling it "The Crooked Hill". Landseekers, trappers,
and traders on foot, horseback, or wagon went around the hill leaving some land
to prairie grass, gumweed, ground squirrels and rattlesnakes.
The first school was taught in 1860 by Mrs. Sterling in a temporary building constructed
of hickory poles placed on end and thatched with mud. This was followed by seven
rural school districts with students of Sections 21, 22, 27 and 28 attending school
in Cumberland. The districts served pupils in each four square miles. The buildings
sat on an acre of land, each having its own well, and a storm cave. These have been
replaced by Cumberland-Massena District serving both rural and town pupils being
transported by motor buses.
The first store in Union township was opened in 1884 by M S Dunham. It ran only
a short time because Cumberland was a growing town at the end of the C B and Q RR
and a post office was established there in 1885.
The "pest house" located a mile south of Cumberland, where citizens with a contagious
disease were taken to a tiny house set in a grove , to be treated.
In the 30's several utility companies put up power lines bringing electricity to
most farms so they could enjoy the same modern conveniences as the city dwellers.
Midway on the west border of the township was the Bethel Christian Church, but with
better roads the members were absorbed in the Cumberland and Atlantic parishes in
the early 20s.
Polls for elections first were in homes then in rural schoolhouses where individual
booths were set up and ballots were marked by hand and counted by the election board.
Now everyone votes in Cumberland on a modern voting machine.
Pig Clubs were organized, later changing to 4-H Clubs for rural youth with a variety
of projects including both rural and town boys and girls who win their share of
purple ribbons at the county and state fairs.
Entertainment during the 20s and 30s consisted of Sunday afternoon pasture baseball
games; an occasional Saturday night picture show or a barn dance.
Farms have become larger, many farm sites have disappeared. Land is tilled by big
machinery but still produces some of the best crops and livestock in Cass County.
Victoria Township lies in the southeast corner of Cass County and is bounded on
the north by Massena Township, on the east by Adair County, on the south by Adams
County. The west by Edna Township. It is technically known as number 74, range 34.
It was set off from the township of Edna on the 11 June 1870. The organizer was
Thomas Tate Jr. and the officers chosen were William Johnson, Thomas Tate. K C Sholes,
trustees and Royal Hudspeth, Clerk, and Joshua DeVore, Assessor.
William E Johnson, a native of New York came to Victoria in 1857, and settled on
Section 6. He was the first settler of the territory, before it was organized. The
first birth was that of his son, William Johnson, born May 10, 1858. The first minister
to come to the township was the Reverend Asa Walden, father in law of William Johnson.
The first death was that of Reverend Walden, and the first marriage was that of
Asa Walden Jr. to a Miss Gardener in 1861. The third settlement was by Frank Whitney.
He built a log cabin in 1858 and in the same year broke some sod and raised a crop
of corn, the first grown in the township. Other early settlers were Mathew Symonds,
Josh DeVore , Robert Ball, and Lemuel Jones.
The township was divided into nine school districts and school houses were built
in the late 1800s. These remained until the reorganization of the Massena Public
School and the children were bussed to Massena for their elementary education. This
change began in the year of 1957 and some of the schools were moved to town and
used until other facilities were built.
The only small town in Victoria was the Dewey Community. It began in the year 1898
and was first run by Adolph Bernhardt. There were two churches in the township.
The Victoria Methodist Episcopal was the oldest, and was organized at the school
house on the northwest corner of Section 24 by Reverend William Stamp in the year
1873. The first members of the church were J A Hill and wife, J. M. Laing and wife,
J. D. DeTar and wife, George Davis and wife, and James Bell besides Rev. Stamp and
wife. Laing was appointed class leader and Mr. Hill, steward.
The German Evangelical Lutheran Church (St. Peters) was organized at the residence
of William Holste, Sr. on 1 Aug 1882 and its first meeting was held at the Center
School. It continued to be the place of worship for eight years until the church
was built. Reverend Millbrook was its first pastor, and among the first members
were William Holste Sr. and wife, John Johanus and wife, Frederick Kerkman and wife,
Ernest Kahn, Carl Vetterick and T. Bernhardt. William Holste was president, Johanus
and Bernhardt, deacons and Fredrick Kerkman, Treasurer.
Victoria comprises about 23,000 acres of rich and productive land. The surface is
generally rolling and is well watered by numerous small creeks and branches of the
west Nodaway. There was little timber of natural growth in the beginning but many
groves were planted and developed by the early settlers. The Mormon Trail runs through
the township. A few signs marking it are visible along Highway 148. The Victoria
Township Cemetery is one of the most beautiful in the county. It is unique because
of the rows of ball shaped evergreens that are kept in this form by annual trimming.
In the early 30’s Victoria had a fine girls 4-H Club which was organized by Mr.
Varel McMartin, and assisted by Mrs. Floyd Cole. For a few years in the late forties
there were no 4-H Clubs, and then Lola Holste, and Evelyn Kerkman organized the
girls club and the boys were organized by Jim Anstey and Leon Jensen. The Clubs
were outstanding in Cass County for many years and a great many fine beeves, hogs,
and sheep were raised and shown at the County Fair from the boys club and the girls
exhibited home furnishing, their cooking skills and sewing. Due to small membership
the clubs joined the Massena clubs some time in the late 1960’s.
At the present time many of the small farm homesteads are gone. The small family
farm is gradually becoming rare – as acres are sold and combined into large areas
and farmed by one with large and effective machinery. Elections are held at the
Center School House which is now township Hall and is presided over by an appointed
election board. The one remaining Church, St. Peters, is the community center. Services
are held there each Sunday and it is maintained by a loyal congregation of about
65 members. The community enjoys attending their annual Spring Dinner which is always
held on the first Sunday in May. Another meal, the Fall supper is always held in
November on election day. At this time they also have a bazaar or Christmas gift
shop. Several of the neighborhood clubs hold meetings and cooperative dinners at
the school house or in the church basement. For some years the 4-H Clubs used the
hall for their regular meetings and the church for their Mother-Daughter Teas and
achievement shows, and Father-Son banquets.
The name of Dewey was chosen in 1898 in honor of Admiral Dewey, when a Post Office
was established in the corner of Adolph Bernhardt’s country store five miles south
of Massena on the highway now known as No 148. The post office closed five years
later when the area received Rural Free Delivery mail service. Dewey, though never
incorporated, really had its beginning before that when the Elgin Creamery Co. of
Creston, Iowa, built a creamery to accept cream brought in by the local farmers.
The cream was hauled to Massena each day and put on the train for Creston. In 1895,
Adolph Bernhardt built a combination store and home for himself and his two sisters,
Paulina and Amelia. Around the turn of the century, there was: a creamery, a blacksmith
shop, a barber shop, Bernhardts Merchandise Store, and two other houses. Each winter
in February, the two ice houses had to be filled with ice packed in saw dust to
use for the ice cream, ice boxes and to sell to farmers in the summer. The meat
was kept hanging in a walk-in ice box. The ice was put in large 50 to 100 pound
blocks in a compartment above the meat room.
By Clyde Bailey
Prior to 1870, Washington Township did not exist. It was made
by taking parts of the townships of Cass, Brighton, and Pymosa. On June 11, 1870,
trustees were appointed: William Worth, B. D. Sarsfield and M. Kirkpatrick, Eli Watson
was road supervisor, B. Watson, assessor and E. D. Haws, Clerk. The first settler
was George Reeves. He came in 1851, and settled in Section 35, which was later the
Hopley farm. He was, no doubt, the earliest settler. He built a cabin, but made no
land improvements. John A Spoor, another early settler helped lay out Iranistan (in
Cass Township): then he settled in Section 31 of Washington Township. He purchased
one hundred sixty acres and improved it. This land was passed down two generations
to Abe Fulton. Spoor erected the home in 1875, and it is still standing. William Watson
came in 1856, and settled in 1857. William Hopley started the first dairy in Washington
Township. He came here from England. His descendants were on the farm until the last
few years. Wayland Hopley raised Shorthorn cattle and Harry, the Angus. Another family,
DeWitt Winston, came in 1869. This farm is still in the Winston family. John E Bailey
came in 1873, and bought land in 1878. He put improvements on his land and some of
it is still in the Bailey family. When Washington Township was organized in 1870,
it had a population of 468, but grew rapidly because of its rich well-drained soil
and an abundance of timber. By 1880, the population was 681. Washington Township has:
Indian Creek, Camp Creek, Spring Creek, Buck Creek and East Nishnabotna River, all
passing through parts of it. The river was straightened in 1926. The First school
was built in 1867, in Section 26, with the Reverend Howsford Short of the Congregational
Denomination as teacher. The first church was in a cabin built by Patrick Blake in
1850, in Section 5. The school in Section 33, known as District Number Eight was built
in 1872, at the cost of $517.00. The District Number Two School was built in 1874,
at the cost of $560.00. Washington Township had no post office or market place, but
because the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad passed through here, the Hopley
farm built an elevator and stock yards on it. It was a privately owned operation,
but near neighbors were allowed to use it, driving livestock "on hoof" to the yards.
The train was discontinued in 1942, thus ending the value of the elevator. It was
later destroyed by fire. A few years later, this location became a center for rodeos,
wrestling, and other sports. A flourishing cafe was here for a few years about the
same time. It was very handy for farmers in the area and it served delicious meals.
A garage took over the site and gradually converted it to an old storage building.
In the very southwest corner of Section 29, across the road from the location of Number
Eight schoolhouse was a large, worn, open hole, which was always called the "buffalo
wallow". It is now under cultivation. Recently found in research: the "Old Texas Trail"
crossed Washington Township south to north about the center of the township.