Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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History of Bath Township
Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

Bath township comprises congressional township 95, range 20 west, and is bounded by Mason [township] on the north, Owen [township] on the east, Geneseo [township] on the south and Mt. Vernon [township] on the west. Bath is a prairie township and the surface of the land is gently rolling, made up of a dark, rich loam. There are some prairie sloughs, but nearly all can easily be drained, and converted into tine pasture lands. Three small streams traverse the township from north to south, two of which unite on section 34, entering Geneseo township as one stream. Owing to the fact that there was no native timber in the township, it did not settle as rapidly as some other parts of the county; but in 1883 was fast developing into a fine agricultural section.


Two men TUCKER and CANTONWINE made the first settlement, near Owen's Grove, on section 1, in 1856. Mr. TUCKER came from one of the eastern States, remained a few years, and removed to Nebraska. CANTONWINE, who was a carpenter by trade, remained until the following spring. No other settlers came in until 1864, at which time Horatio B. MORRISON, a native of New Hampshire, settled on section 15. Mr. MORRISON was a very enterprising man, possessed of natural genius, and a thorough mechanic. He opened a blacksmith shop and remained here until 1868, when he moved to Mason City, but later, moved to Britt, Hancock county, where he engaged in the hardware trade.

Among the next settlers were: George C. FULLER, Thomas N. BROWN, Andrew RODER, Philip BRISBIN and Robert L. LILLIBRIDGE, all of whom came before 1875.

George O. FULLER is the oldest living settler in Bath township. He was born in Andover, Merrimac Co., N. H., April 18, 1834. He had good school advantages, attending Highland Lake Institute, at East Andover. He then engaged with a number of bridge builders, working on the Northern New Hampshire Railroad, and continued in their employ seven years. He was married, Jan. 13, 1857, to Louisa A. BROWN, and remained in Andover till 1859, then moved to Bureau Co., Ill., renting a farm until 1866, when he removed to Cerro Gordo Co., Iowa, buying wild land on section 16, now known as Bath township, which he has well improved and beautified with fruit, shade and ornamental trees. They are the parents of four children Charles D., Eva J. Cora B. and Georgia May. Mr. FULLER is a prominent man in home affairs, and has held offices of trust in the township.

Thomas M. BROWN, one of the oldest settlers of Bath township, came in 1870, and bought land and located on section 26, where he has made substantial improvements and has a pleasant residence. He was married, in 1865, to Emma A. BRAN, of Orange Co., Vt. They have four children Cora M., Harley E., John B. and Clara G. Mr. BROWN was born at Sebago, Cumberland Co., Maine, Feb. 7, 1824. He lived on a farm until 1847, then went to Moosehead Lake and followed lumbering three years. In 1850 he went to Pennsylvania and engaged in the same business until 1852, followed the same in Michigan for two years, and then went to Green Bay, Wis. There, in October, 1861, he enlisted in the 12th Wisconsin Infantry, company H. He was promoted to sergeant, March, 1862. He re-enlisted in February, 1864, and was promoted to first sergeant, in May of that year. He served until the close of the war, and was discharged at Louisville, Ky., July 16, 1865, when he returned to Brown Co., Wis. He remained there until June, 1869, then moved to Delaware Co., Iowa and lived until the fall of 1870, when he moved to this county.

Andrew RODER came in 1871 and bought the southwest quarter of section 32, renting land, however, on section 34 three years, and in the meantime improving his own land, upon which he built, and in the spring of 1875 moved to it. His land is now all under cultivation, having a splendid grove, a good barn and granary and all other necessary buildings. He was born in Germany, November, 1823. He attended school until twelve years of age, after which he was employed in herding sheep. In 1856 he came to America, landing at New York, where he spent but a few days, then going to Buffalo, where he was two years engaged in general work, thence to Dubuque county, ten miles from Dubuque City, where he farmed, and then came to Cerro Gordo county. He was married in 1854 to Mary FRIEND. They have eight children living Kate, Barbara, Maggie and Annie (twins), Mary, John, Caroline and Andrew. He became the owner of a quarter section of land in 1871.

Philip BRISBIN, one of the trustees of Bath township, was born in the province of Ontario, Canada, May 30, 1835. When seven years of age his parents moved to the United States and settled in Winnebago Co., 111. He enlisted there, in 1862, in the 127th Illinois, company E. He participated in the siege at Vicksburg and battle of Mission Ridge, and was with SHERMAN on his march to the sea, participating in many battles of that memorable campaign. He was discharged with the regiment at Washington, June 5, 1865, and joined his family in Winneshiek Co., Iowa. He engaged in farming there for one year, then moved to Allamakee and engaged in farming near Waukon, remaining there until 1873, when he came to Cerro Gordo county and purchased land on section 33, Bath township. He immediately erected a house and commenced cultivating the land. He was married in 1856 to Anna M. MICHAEL, who bore him two children named John and Charles. Mrs. Brisbin died in 1866. His second wife, to whom he was married in 1868, was Rosanna MOORE. They have been blessed with four children Ida, Luther, Elmer and Ernest.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Phillip BRISBIN died June 27, 1900. Rosina (REED) MOORE BRISBIN was born in Illinois, May 30, 1835, the daughter of Ezra and Phebe (CROSS) REED. She died June 27, 1900. Phillip and Rosina were interred at Rockwell Cemetery, Rockwell. Also interred at Rockwell Cemetery is Ida Mae (BRISBIN) ZIEGLER. Ida was born July 9, 1842 and died in 1915. Ida was the first wife of Christian ZIEGLER (1874-1957).

Robert L. LILLIBRIDGE became a resident of Bath township in 1874, where he bought land on section 16, but for two years rented land and resided on section 15, meanwhile improving his own land until 1876, when he built his house, moved into it, and now resides there in comfort. He is a native of Waterford, Erie Co., Pennsylvania, born May 26 1840. His youth was spent in school and on the farm. In December, 1869, he went to Michigan, spending the winter and spring in Ovid Center. In the spring of 1860 he went to Carroll Co., Ill., and engaged in farming until July, 1861, when he enlisted in company A, 45th Illinois Volunteers. He re- enlisted at Black River, Miss., January, 1864, and was with his regiment till the close of the war and took part in many of the severest battles. In February, 1862, at the battle of Fort Donelson, he was wounded and was in the hospital for a while, went home on a furlough to Pennsylvania, but soon rejoined his regiment at Jackson, Tenn. He was also with SHERMAN on his march to the sea. He was honorably discharged July 6, 1865, then returned to Pennsylvania, March, 1866, came to Iowa and stopped in Greeley, Delaware county, where he was married June 14, 1868, to Rachael TRIPP, a native of Canada, whose parents were among the first settlers of Delaware county, where lie was brought up. Here he and his wife resided until February, 1874, when they came to Bath. Since he came here he has taken an active part in township affairs, and was elected town clerk in 1882, an office which he now holds.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Robert Latimer LILLIBRIDGE died in Mason City on November 2, 1917. He was the son of Hosea and Henrietta (FRONCE) LILLIBRIDGE. Records indicate that Robert was wounded in the wrist at during the Battle of Vicksburg.

Rachel (TRIPP) LILLIBRIDGE was born September 5, 1841, at Saskatchewan, Canada, the daughter of Joseph and Esther (POTTS) TRIPP. She died in Mason City on May 12, 1918. Robert and Rachel were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, along with their sons, Charles David LILLIBRIDGE, born April 13, 1880, Mason City, and died April 1965, Mason City, and Ulyses Grant LILLIBRIDGE, born July 1, 1875, and died January 9, 1876.

Robert and Rachel were also the parents of Robert Earl LILLIBRIDGE and Wilmie Grace (LILLIBRIDGE) LONG who was interred at Clear Lake Cemetery.

Among the number who made settlement in the township between 1874 and 1877 were George GIBSON, Capt. Hugh CLARK, William HENDERSON, Henry BABLE, Henry HILL, Norman DENSMORE, Charles GRAHAM, G. H. OVERBECK and J. A. KUPPINGER.

George GIBSON has 240 acres of well improved land on sections 34 and 35, and has been a successful farmer. Beginning with little, he has worked up until now he has one of the finest farms in the county, and a good residence with all necessary farm buildings. He is a native of Sligo Co., Ireland, born Oct. 19,. 1834. When six years of age his parents emigrated to the United States and settled in Westmoreland Co., Penn. In 1860 he went to Beaver Dam, Dodge Co., Wis., where he rented land until 1863, when he came to Iowa and bought land in Ingham township, Franklin county, living upon it until 1875, when he sold and came to Bath township, where he purchased wild land and has since lived. He was married Sept. 26, 1857, to Mary McDOWELL and has five children Robert A., William A., Benjamin F., Nina E. and George E.

Capt. Hugh CLARK was an early settler in Franklin Co., Iowa, having bought land and moved there in 1868. He improved this land, erected a good set of buildings, and lived there until 1875, then came to Bath township, Cerro Gordo county, and bought land on sections 27 and 28. He has erected a good set of buildings, improved and cultivated his land, and now makes it his home. HE was born Nov. 9, 1816, on Prince Edwards Island, was brought up on a farm until he was fourteen years of age, then went to sea and sailed before the mast for eight years; was then promoted to captain and followed the sea in that capacity until 1855, during which time he sailed around and visited all the principal parts of the world. When he left the ocean he came to the United States and bought and located on a farm in Grant Co., Wis. Not liking his location, he sold out in 1863, and purchased and settled on a farm in German township, Grundy Co., Iowa, and lived there until 1868, when he removed to Franklin county. He was married in 1841 to Mary GAMBLE, a native of Prince Edwards Island, and they have thirteen children, eight of whom are now living Michael, Myrtie, Sarah E., Collinwold C, Archie, Orrin, Eva and Oscar H.

William HENDERSON, residing on section 13, Bath township, was born in Westmoreland Co., Penn., June 17, 1831. When quite young, Ms parents moved to Harrison Co., Ohio, where they lived on a farm, he receiving a good common school education. He was married in 1854 to Martha KELLEY, a native of Harrison county, and in 1857 they removed to Allamakee county, and were among the early settlers there, buying wild land' in Linton township. He built a log house and cleared seventy acres of this land, remaining on it six years, when he engaged in the mercantile business at Rossville, until 1874, when he moved to Cerro Gordo. He is largely engaged in raising grain and stock, giving considerable attention to the raising of sheep, of which he has a large flock.

Henry BOBLE, a resident of the southeast quarter of section 31, is a native of Iowa, born in Dubuque county, April 6, 1854. He was brought up on a farm and received his education in the district school. He was married there, in 1875, to Catherine CONRAD, coming in the spring to Cerro Gordo county, buying unimproved land, upon which he now has a fine grove, a nice house and barn, and altogether is as pleasant a residence as is in the county, They have three children John, Ray and Frank.

Henry HILL came to Iowa in 1876, bought land in Bath township, improved and settled upon it, and which is still his home. In 1855 he was married, in Wisconsin, to Juliana DECKER, of Erie Co., N. Y., who died ten months after her marriage, and in 1857 he married her sister, Abigail DECKER, who has borne him two children Frank W. and Cora J. Mr. HILL was born Feb. 9, 1835, in Lycoming Co., Penn., and is the son of Daniel and Margaret (SHONER) HILL, who started from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin in a one-horse conveyance. The father died on the way, in Ohio, when Henry was seven years of age. The family went on and joined his brother and two sisters in Wisconsin, where Henry lived till he was married. He bought land and settled in Green Co., Wis., in 1859, sold out, removed to Allamakee Co., Iowa, and bought land and settled in Jefferson township. In August, 1862, he enlisted in the 27th Iowa Infantry, company A, and went to Minnesota to fight the Indians. In the fall he went south. He served with his regiment until the war closed and was mustered out, Aug. 8, 1865. He was in the battles of the Red River expedition, Fort De Russey, Pleasant Hill, Yellow Bayou, Tupelo, Old Town Creek and Fort Blakely. On his return from the war he resumed farming in Allamakee county, remaining there until 1876 when he came to this county.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: While serving with the 27th Iowa during the Civil War, Henry Hill was promoted to the rank of Corporal. He died in Cerro Gordo County on October 30, 1927. Abigail (DECKER) HILL was born in 1834, and died in 1921. Henry and Abigail HILL were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City.

Norman DENSMORE, one of the best farmers in Cerro Gordo county, settled in Hath township in 1877, on section 35, and he has so improved and beautified his home, by all essential buildings and forest and ornamental trees, that one could scarcely believe the wild prairie could so soon be transformed, but by thrift, labor and energy, he has accomplished it. He is the oldest son of Orrin and Elizabeth (FOWLE) DENSMORE, born at Riga, Monroe Co., N. Y., Sept 19, 1829. When seventeen years of age his parents moved to Bradford, Wis., where they were early settlers. He was married there in October, 1854, to Delia WEBSTER, a native of Chautauqua Co., N. Y. He rented a farm in Rock Co., Wis., until 1877, when he removed to this county. On first coming he built a barn, in which the family lived until completing his house, whence they removed on a Thanksgiving day. They are the parents of five children Ellis, Elsie, Ray, Ora and Webb.

Charles GRAHAM made settlement on section 24, Bath township, in 1877, where he has made good improvements, and now makes his home. He was born in Delaware Co., N. Y., Aug. 3, 1829, where he was reared on a farm and attended the common schools He made his home there till 1856, then came to Iowa and located in Tama county, lived there three years, returned to New York, bought a farm in Meredith, Delaware county, enlisted, September, 1861, in the 89th New York Volunteer Infantry, company I, was in the battles of Newbern, South Mountain and Antietam, Fredericksburg, siege of Charleston and many other battles. He was dangerously wounded, Sept. 19, 1864, by a ball which entered his mouth and passed out at the side of his neck, but by skillful treatment his life was saved and he received an honorable discharge on the 4th of the following December. He then returned to New York, bought a farm in Yates county, lived there until 1877, sold out and came to his present home in Cerro Gordo county. He was married in 1865 to Louisa HENRY, of Schuyler Co., N. Y. They have four children Isabella A., Charles W., Fred. M. and Helen Louisa.

G. H. OVERBECK has lived on the southwest quarter of section 31 since 1877. The place was partly improved when he purchased, but he has since greatly improved it by planting a fine grove of fruit trees and erecting a substantial frame house. He is the son of William and Margaret Elizabeth OVERBECK, born in Clayton Co., Iowa, Oct. 3, 1849, his parents being early settlers in that county. He remained with his parents until 1875. Mr. and Mrs. OVERBECK have had four children William Henry, born Nov. 13, 1878; Willhelmine Katharine, born April 24, 1880; Anna M., born Oct. 18, 1881 (died Oct. 20, 188_); John G., born July 12, 1883.

John A. KUPPINGER, in 1877, settled on section 22, Bath township, on land which he had previously bought, made good improvements, set out a grove and built the house in which he now resides. He is a native of Baden, Germany, born Jan. 20 1830. Here he attended school, and at the age of fourteen years, he commenced to learn the carpenter trade with his father, at which he continued to work until 1853, when he came to America and located at Canal Dover. He was superintendent of a coal mine for one winter. In 1855 he went to Allamakee Co., Iowa, bought wild land in Waterloo township, but lived in Dorchester and worked at his trade for three years, at which time he started a wagon shop, working at times on his land until he had thirty-five acres cleared. He remained there until 1872, when he came to Mason City and engaged to work on the C. M. & St. P. Railroad, and after three and a half years, went to Austin, Minn., where he was employed by the same company about one year and a half, when he returned to Mason City, opened a wagon shop and after running it a few months, settled on his land where he now lives. He was married, in 1858, to Margaret Elizabeth NAAS. They had six children, four of whom are living: Jacob F., John A., George H. and J. Frederick; Willie died in infancy, April 14, 1869. The only daughter, Mary E., [born August 11, 1859] died, Nov. 5, 1874, aged fifteen [interment at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City]. Mrs. KUPPINGER died, Nov. 21, 1879. He was a second time married in February, 1881, to Mary CANNEFF, who is a native of America.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Johann "John" Adam KUPPINGER'S gravestone gives his birth date as January 30, 1830. He died on December7, 1894, and was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City.

Margaret "Elizabeth" NAAS KUPPINGER was born December 19, 1830, and was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City.

Jacob Frederick, son of John A. and Margaret "Elizabeth" (NAAS) KUPPINGER, was born July 25, 1861, and died March 2, 1926. He was married to Nellie A. (W.) KUPPINGER, born May 17, 1868, and died October 21, 1938. Their son, Clifford, was born November 2, 1897, and died May 12, 1944. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City.

George Henry, son of John A. and Margaret "Elizabeth" (NAAS) KUPPINGER, was born July 20, 1867, and died October 15, 1911, with interment at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City.

Mary Ann (CANNEFF) KUPPINGER was born July 15, 1856, and died January 23, 1941. She was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City.

K. W. KAHLKE was born in Hamburg, Germany, Dec. 24, 1824. He attended school until sixteen years of age, when he engaged with a ship carpenter to learn the trade. In 1843 he left his native land and came to the United States, landing at New Orleans, and there engaged to work at his trade. He remained there until 1866, having been there through the stormy times of the war. In 1866 he came to Dubuque, where he engaged in boat building. In 1873 he made a new departure and engaged in building pontoon bridges; the first one he built was across the Mississippi river, at McGregor. He is now engaged at both boat and bridge building. He was married in 1853 to Anna HART, also a native of Hamburg, who bore him five children, of which but one is now living Eliza, who is now the wife of Henry SADLER. Mrs. KAHLKE died at New Orleans in 1863. In 1878 Mr. KAHLKE bought a tract of wild land in Bath township, which he has had improved and has erected a good frame house, and a large barn. He still makes his home in Dubuque, but spends some time each year at his farm.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: K. W. KAHLKE died June 30, 1895, and was interred at Rockwell Cemetery, Rockwell.

James H. BROWN came to Cerro Gordo county in 1879, buying wild land on section 17, Bath township, which he improved well and sold in 1881. He then purchased an improved farm on section 16, northwest quarter, which he still retains as his present home. He was born in Boone Co., Ill., July 9, 1855, where he made his home with his parents until twenty-one years of age, receiving a liberal education. He then went to Winnebago county where he engaged in farming until 1879, when he came to this county. He is one of the trustees of Bath township.

George C. ARMSBURY, engaged largely in real estate, is the son of Collins F. and Amanda (BOOMER) ARMSBURY, born in Belleville, Jefferson Co., N. Y., Oct. 15, 1850. He was a member of the Hungersford Collegiate Institute in 1870, since then has been employed with his father, who is a large owner of real estate in the west as well as New York State. He was married in June, 1879, to Ida V., a daughter of Gardner and Deziah FOWLE, who died Jan. 11, 1882, leaving him one son Alonson A. Mr. ARMSBURY spends some time each year in Bath township looking after the landed interests of his father here.

The land in Bath township was chiefly held by speculators, and in 1875 commenced to be improved by them. John A. RAMSEY, a pump and engine manufacturer of Seneca Falls, N. Y., purchased section 29, except the east half of the northeast quarter. Improvements were commenced on this as early as 1875. It has been thoroughly drained, two good houses erected, and a beautiful row of trees set out around the entire farm.

C. F. and G. C. ARMSBURY, of Belleville, Jefferson Co., N. Y., owned section 32, except the southwest quarter, in 1883, and were improving the same in a very thorough manner. George C. ARMSBURY superintended the improvement of this extensive farm.


The first birth was a daughter of Mr. CANTONWINE, Dec. 2, 1856.

The first school in the township was taught by Emma ADAMS, during the summer of 1857, in Mr. CANTONWINE'S house.

The second birth in the township was Nella, daughter of H. B. and Caroline MORRISON, born Nov. 17, 1865.

An early death was an infant child of Mr. and Mrs. MORRISON, in 1868. Mrs. MORRISON died a few weeks later. They were both buried in Rockwell Cemetery.


Bath township was organized in 1876. The first township meeting was held at the school house on section 16, at which time and place the following officers were elected: T. B. LYMANS, George GIBSON and George O. FULLER, trustees; I. H. WILLEY, clerk; Philip BRISBIN, assessor. In 1883 the officers were: Philip BRISBIN, J. A. BROWN and John MURRAY, trustees; R. L. LILLIBRIDGE, clerk; V. _. LEWIS, assessor; William HENDERSON and H. A. GROVES, justices of the peace. The Constitutional Amendment vote stood forty-eight for and seven against.


This postoffice was established in 1864, with H. B. MORRISON as the first postmaster. He kept the office in his house, and the mail was carried semi-weekly over the route from Mason City to Rockwell. The office was discontinued in 1868.


The first school in Bath township was taught in a straw shed, during the summer of 1865, by Louisa VANDERMARK. In 1873 a school house was erected on the northeast quarter of section 16. Lizzie ROCKWELL, afterward wife of J. A. FELTHAUS, taught the first term in this building. She boarded with George O. FULLER, who ran a wire from his house to the school house so that the teacher and scholars might not get lost in the blinding storms of winter, so frequent in northern Iowa. This building was moved in 1877 to the southwest quarter of section 3. The same year a new building was erected on the northwest quarter of section 22. Ida CASE taught the first school in this building. The Congregational people have had preaching in this house for some years. Rev. C. J. RICHARDSON of Rockwell, was the preacher for a time.

District No. 2 comprises eight sections, and this is provided with two school houses.

The first was moved from section 16, in 1878, and placed - on the southwest quarter of section 3, where Lizzie MURRAY taught the first school. The second school house was erected in 1882, on the southwest quarter of section 1. The first teacher here was Joseph RILEY. In district No. 3, the first school was taught in Jacob KUPPINGER'S house, in 1879, on section 7. Ida JEFFERS was the first teacher. In 1880 a school house was built on the southwest quarter of section 6. During the summer of 1873 a school house was built in district No. 4, on section 19, and the first term of school was taught by a Norwegian named JUGLUN. The first school building in district No. 6 was erected in 1876 on the northwest quarter of section 14. This I was used for school purposes but a short time, and then converted into a residence. In 1877 a house was built on section 13, and Ella MILLER taught the first term of school in this building. In 1875 a school house was built in district No. 7, on the southeast quarter of section 25.

Ghost Towns of Bath Township, 2011
  • Bath, located near center of Bath Township, Post office from 1867 to 1869.

    "Bath Township." History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. Chapt. XXI. Pp. 757-63. Union Pub. Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

    Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2011



  • 1895 Bath Township Plat Map

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