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

Grant township is bounded on the north by Worth county, on the east by Lincoln township, on the south by Clear Lake township and on the west by Hancock county, and comprises congressional township 97, range 22 west. This township was originally well timbered, but it was mostly cut off by the early settlers of the county. About one-fourth of the territory in this township is lowland. The upland is a sandy loam, with here and there a gravel knoll raised far above the common surface. The principal stream is Lime creek, which enters the township on section 19, crosses 20, 17, 8, 9, 4 and 3, where it enters Worth county. Willow creek is a small tributary of Lime creek, rising on section 11, flowing north through section 2 into Worth county.


The first settler of the township was Abram BENNETT, who settled on section 36 in 1855 or 1856. He was a trapper and hunter, to which he gave nearly all his time and attention. He went from Grant township to Colorado, where he shortly afterward died. He erected a log cabin which served to accommodate travelers.

Mr. BENNETT broke the first land in the township. James SPEAR broke the next land on section 16, in 1860, and George FROST broke thirty four acres on section 34, raising 600 bushels of wheat which he hauled to Waverly and sold for thirty-five cents per bushel, and with the money paid fifty cents per yard for cotton cloth.

James SPEAR came to the township in 1858. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1796, but at two years of age his parents removed to Ohio, where he was reared and married. Four years after his marriage his wife died, and in April, 1852, he married Mrs. Beatrice EMSLEY, who had six children by her first husband, two of whom are now living Thomas G. and Margaret, wife of Charles MEDDAUGH. In 1857 Mr. SPEAR came to Iowa and made arrangements for his land, engaging Abram BENNETT to build him a cabin. He then returned to Ohio and brought his family on in the spring of 1858, coming as far as McGregor, Iowa, by steamboat, and from there by team to what is now Grant township, landing May 7. He had traded his store property in Ohio for 400 acres of land, and at once set about improving the same. He carried on farming until his health failed by reason of over work, and in 1S65 he moved to Clear Lake village, renting his farm. After a lingering illness of six years he died at Clear Lake, May 3, 1869. They had six children, two of whom are now living John and Jennie, wife of E. ROSECRANS. Mr. SPEAR was a strong democrat in politics. Mrs. SPEAR still lives at Clear Lake, where she is esteemed by all.

The next settlers came in 1865. Among their number were J. W. COOK, Messrs. KING and THOMPSON, also Silan NOYES who sold to James GOODWIN land which he first improved on section 31. McReady MARTIN and Mr. FAULP settled in 1866 on section 32, and a year later, Charles BOOTH came to the township.

J. W. COOK became a resident of Cerro county and Grant township in 1865. He brought $450 with him, and he invested $300 in land, devoting the balance to improvements. His property now includes 226 acres of land, in the best condition, one of the best planned barns in the county and a good residence. Mr. COOK was born in Locke, Cayuga Co., N. Y., Jan. 14, 1831. The year following his birth the family moved to Ohio. There Mr. COOK'S mother died in 1846, leaving seven children. His father still lives on the homestead in the Buckeye State. Mr. COOK, Sr., was born in the year 1800. His children are Mrs. McCAULEY, James, the custodian of his father's interests; Nathan, settled in Lincoln township, Cerro Gordo county, and died in 1867; Lois, Mrs. Ezra SCOVILLE, of Hebron. Neb.; Betsey, Mrs. HELSEL, of Hillsdale Co., Mich.; Joseph W. and Euphemia, now Mrs. Henry B. OGRAM, of Kossuth county. Mr. COOK shared in the family labors on the homestead farm until 1854, when he went to Columbia Co., Wis. There he married Zelia E., daughter of Frank and Elmira FOLSOM. Their children are William M., Fremont E., Florence E., Sheridan G., Permelia E., Robert E., Bertha May and Maud E. James H. DICKERSON, a member of Mr. COOK'S family and associatng with him in his farming interests, was born in Vermont, April 10, 1832. He went to Wisconsin in 1853 and enlisted in February, 1865, in company E, 50th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry and was in the service of the Union one year He came to Iowa immediately after his discharge and has since been a resident of Cerro Gordo county.

McReady MARTIN purchased his present property, in Grant township, of James GOODWIN and Silan NOYES, Nov. 2, 1865. He is finely situated on section 32, and has put his farm under valuable improvements. Mr. MARTIN was born in Crawford Co., Penn., in 1832. He is the son of Jacob and Martha (MASON) MARTIN, of Pennsylvania, where his father still resides. His mother is not living. In 1860 he went to LaFayette Co., Wis., and came from there to Iowa. He married Margaret GALBRAITH, also of Crawford county. They are the parents of four children Mary E., Ida A., George C. and Jessie A.

William FISHER was born in the State of New Hampshire, May 18, 1808. His parents are Israel and Cuziah (BLOOD) FISHER. In 1817 the family emigrated to New York State. Here Mr. FISHER was reared on a farm. In 1834 he married Pleopa HORTON. In 1844 he emigrated to Sheboygan, Wis., afterwards to Fond du Lac county, and followed farming principally. He also worked at the carpenter's trade. His wife died in Wisconsin, leaving four children Homer E., Hayden, deceased; Horace W. and Frank J. He came to Iowa in 1874 and now resides with his sons.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: William FISHER died at the age of 90 years, 8 months and six days on February 14, 1899. He was interred at Grant Center Cemetery, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.

Homer E. FISHER, son of William FISHER, was born in Onondaga Co., N. Y., Dec. 20. 1837. He removed with the family to Wisconsin, where, in July, 1865, he married Lucy E. THOMPSON, daughter of E. O. THOMPSON. He came to Cerro Gordo county and settled where he now lives in 1866. He owns 160 acres of well improved land. The children are Lillian S. and Hattie May. In politics Mr. FISHER is a republican.

C. W. (sic, should be G. W.) BOOTH settled in Lincoln township in 1865, and Grant township in 1868. He was born in Kentucky, Sept. 9, 1823, and is the son of W. S. and Elizabeth (WITT) BOOTH, the former of Virginia, the latter of Kentucky. In 1827 the family emigrated to Illinois, and in 1835 to Iowa Co., Wis. December, 1848, C. W. (sic) BOOTH married Susan LEACH, daughter of Oliver and Susan (KNIGHT) LEACH, and came from Wisconsin to Iowa in October, 1865. Their children are Aurelia, now Mrs. S. E.ROOD; Annie, now Mrs. George OSBORN; Minerva, now Mrs. Andrew HENNIS; W. Oliver, Charles, Alard and Dora. In politics Mr. BOOTH is of republican persuasion, and in religious matters he is an adherent of the United Brethren Church.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: G. W. BOOTH died March 9, 1904. Susan (LEACH) BOOTH was born June 7, 1826, and died June 28, 1910. They were interred at Grant Center Cemetery, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.

Andrew HENNIS was born in Washington Co , Iowa, Nov. 19, 1858. He was left fatherless when a child and was reared in the family of David FISHER, with whom he came to Cerro Gordo county. March 19, 1878, he married Minerva BOOTH. They have two children Clarence and Gertrude.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Andrew J. HENNIS died June 10, 1929. Manerva HENNIS, born August 31, 1856, died October 31, 1943. Vern HENNIS was born in 1884 and died in 1959. His wife, Mary, was born in 1885 and died in 1970. All interments were at Grant Center Cemetery, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.

Henry GARLOCK came to the county in 1869 and settled on section 24, of Grant township, where he still resides. Mr. GARLOCK has made good improvements on his farm. He was born in Jefferson Co., N. Y., Oct. 22, 1839, his parents being Joseph and Nancy GARLOCK. In 1846 the family removed to Wisconsin, and lived five years in Milwaukee, then settled at Milton, Rock county. Here Henry helped till the soil, and in 1863, at Janesville, Wis., married Hannah HURD, a daughter of Dennis and Mary Ann HURD. In 1869 he came to Iowa as above stated. They have eight children living Sarah, Dora, Henry D., Mary, Maud, Josephine, Sherman and Bertha.

David GARLOCK, a brother of Henry, also came to the county, in 1869, and purchased land on section 25, which he improved and still owns.

Ellsworth H. SAMPSON settled in the county in 1869. He first lived at Clear Lake and followed the carpenter's trade. In 1872 he engaged in farming in Lincoln township. In 1875 he settled on section 34, Grant township, where he still resides, owning 160 acres. He was born Nov. 15, 1848. his parents were T. S. and Electa L. SAMPSON. In 1853 the family emigrated to Illinois; four years later to Kansas, afterwards to Wisconsin, and in 1869 to Iowa and settled on Clear Lake where the parents still reside. In January, 1872, he married Mary L. GOODWIN, daughter of C. S. and Rosanna GOODWIN. They have four children Zelma, Clara, Rosanna and Clyde.

H. L. BROWN settled in Cerro Gordo county in 1856, and thus establishes his claim as a pioneer of the county. He was born in Rutland Co., Vt., Dec. 18, 1824. His parents were Hiram and Phebe (ATKINS) BROWN. They removed soon after his birth to the State of New York, and when but three years old he was left motherless. He returned to Vermont and was reared under the care of his grandfather, Philip BROWN. He was reared on a farm, but on reaching his majority he learned the moulder's trade. In 1848 he married Harriet L. WARD, and three years later, went to Whiteside Co., Ill., and interested himself in farming. In 1856 he came to Iowa and located in Lime Creek township. He settled in Grant township in 1870. His farm was located on the southeast quarter of section 18, and he made many improvements while he occupied it. In 1877, his health becoming impaired, he sold out and retired from active life, taking up his residence with his son, whose sketch follows. His children are Albert G., Hiram E. and Warner J. In politics Mr. BROWN is a republican, and has held many official positions in the township. He is now justice of the peace. He belongs to the M. E. Church.

Hiram E. BROWN was born in Whiteside Co., Ill., Oct. 16, 1853. He has resided in Cerro Gordo county since the date of his father's settlement. He was married Dec. 25, 1874, to Sarah E. MILLER, born in Cook Co., Ill. Mr. BROWN is one of the oldest teachers in the county and has taught thirteen terms; twelve in Grant township. He now lives on section 9, and owns 200 acres of land.

J. R. CARR, stock farmer, has resided in Grant township since November, 1870. At that date he purchased eighty acres of land and has since increased his real estate to 320 acres, which is located on section 9. The entire tract was unbroken prairie, but it is now all under good improvements, and is beautified and increased in value by one of the model farm houses of the county. Mr. CARR was born in McHenry Co., Ill., July 25, 1838. His parents, Darius and Thankful (SPENCER) CARR, were both natives of the State of New York. In 1854 the CARR family removed to La Fayette Co., Wis., where the elder CARR engaged in farming. In 1859 Mr. CARR, of this sketch, was married to Mary DONNEOUGH. Her parents, Edward and Mary DONNEOUGH, were residents of Ireland and came to the United States when Mrs. CARR was only six-years-old. Mr. CARR returned to his native county in 1869, and the next year came to Iowa. Of eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. CARR, seven still survive Edward, William, Ella, George, Etta, Benton, Florence and Lester, born April 29, 1883. Mr. CARR endorses the principles of the republican party but takes little active interest in politics. He is chiefly interested in his own business and is a successful and extensive dealer in fine stock.

Mark DEXTER is the name of one of the most prominent and conspicuous figures in the local history of Grant township, and also bears the same relationship to Mason City, in which latter place he settled in February, 1856. He was a wagon maker by trade, and finding his knowledge in that line in requisition, he opened a shop and manufactured the first wagons made in Cerro Gordo county. He devoted part of his time and energies to the calling of carpenter and builder, and also to bridge building. He built the first school house in the county, and hung the first bell, whose tones summoned the school children to duty. Mr. Dexter was married in 1859 to Amanda, daughter of Alva L. and Miranda (HARTWELL) WHITING. In 1863 he settled on the west half of the northwest quarter of section 16, in what is now Grant township. He made his purchase of the claim in 1864, holding possession until 1866, when he sold to J. C. THOMPSON and removed to his present location on section 8. He is now proprietor of 240 acres of fine land. Mr. DEXTER has at intervals, as occasion demanded, given much attention to building and has erected several school houses. Mrs. DEXTER died in December, 1880, leaving seven children Olive (Mrs. J. L HOOPER), Dwight, Whiting, Amanda, Mary Jane, Selee and Thomas. Mr. DEXTER is a native of Canada, and was born July 27, 1834. His parents were John and Margaret (DUDGEON) DEXTER, the former a Canadian, the latter a native of Scotland. The family came to the States in 1835, settling in Lee Co., Ill. Mark DEXTER was reared on a farm, but at the age of eighteen learned his trade, and followed it as a vocation in Lee county until 1855, when he started for Iowa, driving a team for J. B. LONG, who brought the first steam engine to Cerro Gordo county. The same engine supplies the power in a mill at Forest City. Mr. DEXTER is a republican in politics, and has received the support of the voters in the town and county where he resides for official positions nearly all the time of his residence here. He is a fine sample of the material that has placed Iowa in a fair rank among the western States.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Thomas R. DEXTER, born October 11, 1873, died May 1, 1893. Interment was made at Grant Center Cemetery, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.

Horace W. FISHER, son of William FISHER, was born in Oswego Co., N. Y., Oct, 30, 1843. He was a resident of Sheboygan, Wis., some years, whither he accompanied his parents. In 1866 he came to Iowa and fixed his residence at Charles City. In 1873 he came to Cerro Gordo county, and now owns 160 acres of land with valuable improvements on section 28, of Grant township. He was married in March, 1878, to Hila, daughter of George HAYES. Mr. and Mrs. FISHER have two children Cora May and Ida Mabel. Mr. FISHER is a republican and active in local politics. He has held several township offices.

George HAYES, a large stock farmer, was born in Addison Co., Vt., March 13, 1832. His parents were John and Permelia (DEVINE) HAYES. In 1835 the family removed to New York. Here George was reared on a farm, and in 1853 married Helen HEATH, a native of Canada, daughter of John and Evaline (BROWN) HEATH. In 1854 he emigrated to Illinois, and settled in De Kalb county. Thence he came to Iowa, in 1876. They have had twelve children, eleven now living Edwin, Bennett, Hila, Permelia, Herbert, Servilla, Endora, Frank, Harvey, Harry and Nellie.

L. O. SANDERSON resides on the northwest quarter of section 3 in Grant township. He was born in Norway, Nov. 23, 1839, and is the son of Ole and Gro SANDERSON. The SANDERSON family came to the United States in 1847, and settled in the township of Moscow, Iowa Co., Wis., where the father died in 1853. The mother subsequently married Kittel PAULSON, and lived on the old homestead until 1882, when they moved to Fertile, Worth Co., Iowa, where they now reside. L O. SANDERSON was brought up on the farm, and acquired a good education. He commenced teaching school at the age of eighteen, a vocation he has pursued winters upwards of twenty-five years. He was married Dec. 17, 1862,to Sarah GULLICKSON, also a native of Norway. Her parents came to the United States when she was but four years of age. Her father was Aslag GULLICK, and her mother Aase GULLICKSON. She was born Aug. 20, 1840. Mr. SANDERSON settled in Worth Co., Iowa, in 1876. He located in Grant township, Cerro Gordo county, Sept. 15, 1877. He is a republican in political principles, and while in Wisconsin held the office of township clerk nine years, assessor one year, and has also officiated as justice of the peace. Mr. and Mrs. SANDERSON have had eleven children, ten of whom are now living Anna Marie, Gunhild Louisa, Sophia Martine, Berget Matilda, Grethe Otilia, Gullick Olaus, Amanda Helene, Sander LaMartine, Louis Samuel and Olena Amelia. Their first child, Ole Gunnerius, died at the age of one year, four months and eleven days. The family belong to the Lutheran Church.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Sander L. SANDERSON was born in 1876, and died in 1964. His wife, Carrie R., was born in 1882, and died in 1974. They were interred at Grant Center Cemetery, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.


The first marriage in Grant township was George OSBORNE and Annie BOOTH.

The first birth a son to James and Beatrice SPEAR, who was born March 29, 1861. He lived only two years; his remains were first buried on grounds belonging to Mrs. OSBORN, but later removed to Clear Lake.

The first deaths which occurred were three children of Mr. and Mrs. SPEAR, who died in June, 1873 James, aged ten years, died June 3; William, aged five years, died June 6, and Mildred, aged two years, died June 7. These three children all died of diptheria.


The first general election in Grant township occurred Nov. 3, 1868. The meeting was called to order by Frank HARTSHORN, clerk of the district courts, who appointed Wm. OWEN, M. C. MARTIN and J. W. COOK judges of the election. Abram KING and H. HUMPHREY were clerks of the election. At this election the following officers were elected:

J. W. COOK, L. F. McMILLEN, McReady MARTIN, trustees; Abram KING, clerk; Harrison HUMPHREY, assessor; Squire HUMPHREY, supervisor; Abram KING, Wm. OWENS, justices; Charles BOOTH and Squire HUMPHREY, constables.

In 1883 H. E. FISHER was elected as township trustee; J. WHITE, clerk, and Joseph DAWSON, assessor. H. L. BROWN and Joseph LINGLE, justices of the peace.

The first school in Grant township was held in a log cabin built for the purpose by Mr. SPEAR, who made application to the township for a school in 1862, whereupon an arrangement was made by which he was to furnish a building, and the township was to hire the teacher. Ellen TUTTLE taught this school, and had but four pupils Maggie, James, John and Willie SPEAR. Her wages were 82.50 per week, $1.00 of which she paid Mrs. SPEAR for her board.

The school building in district No. 1, is situated on the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 11. It was built by Mark DEXTER in 1879. It is a frame building costing $540.

The third school house was built in what is now sub-district No. 2, in 1878. It is a stone building, costing $540. The first teacher was Jackson WHITE.

The school house in district No. 3 was built in 1871, and stood on the southwest quarter of section 19, but has since been moved to section 17. Mark DEXTER built this house also; cost, $487. The first teacher was Irine HUBBARD.

In 1868 a stone school house was erected in district No. 4, on the northwest quarter of section 16, at a cost of $700. This was a very substantial one, and is still used for school purposes. Harrison HUMPHREY taught the first term of school in this district in the winter of 1868-9.

The school building, for district No. 5, is situated on section 25. It was built by Mr. DEXTER in 1871, for $487.

In district No. 6, the school house is situated on the southeast corner of section 30, in a frame building which was removed from Clear Lake township, in 1878. The first teacher was Miss PENCE.


The first society which was organized in Grant township was that of the Christians, who first met as a body in the spring of 1869. Their meeting place was at the school house in district No. 4. Rev. COTTRELL, of Clear Lake, was their pastor for two years. There is no society now there, as most of the members have moved away.

The Free Methodists organized in district No. 4, in 1874, with Rev. GREENUP as pastor. This society went down in 1881.

The United Brethren have a society in this district. Rev. H. H. SHIELDS was their first pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. John FULCMER. Rev. JOHNS is their present pastor. They have a membership of twenty-five, also a good Sunday school.


The Grant township cemetery was platted on the southwest quarter of section 9, in 1870. In 1883 there were only five graves within this cemetery.

"Grant Township." History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. Chapt. XXV. Pp. 863-70. Union Pub. Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

Additional Information from WPA Graves Survey and cemetery transcriptions

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2011



  • 1895 Grant Township Plat Map

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