Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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History of Pleasant Valley Township
Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

This township was organized on the 29th of September, 1876, and at that time comprised congressional township 94 north, range 21 and 22 west, but when Grimes township was formed, in 1880, it was reduced to its present limits comprising congressional township 94 north, and range 21 west. The name Pleasant Valley was suggested by Robert BUGHER, and as the township contains a large amount of what is known as "second bottom lands" along its streams, the name is very appropriate. The township is well supplied with good, pure water by the West Fork and Beaver Dam creeks and their tributaries, and is thereby especially adapted to stock farming. The soil is very rich, and as there is but little wet, marshy land in the township, it ranks among the best in the county. The only natural timber in Pleasant Valley township is located on sections 34, 35 and 36, and is known as Shobe's Grove, a name given it in honor of John SHOBE, who settled in what is now Richland township, Franklin county, in 1856, and resided there until 1876, when he moved across the county line into Cerro Gordo and settled on section 34, Pleasant Valley township.


The first man to locate within the present limits of Pleasant Valley township was J. W. GOHEEN, who settled on the southwest quarter of section 35, in about 1856, and remained a resident of the township for nearly twenty years.

Mr. CORTELL settled on the southwest quarter of section 36, in 1856 or 1857, and thus became the second settler. He enlisted in the 32d Iowa regiment, and now fills a soldier's grave.

Daniel WARNER settled on the southeast quarter of section 35, about 1864, and resided on the same about two years; then sold to William BAILEY.

M. AUSTIN settled on the southwest quarter of section 34, about 1870. He now resides in Dakota. After AUSTIN came Harmon DILTS, H. W. ROOD, William CATHCART, Robert BUGHER, A. W. STOVER, N. E. WILLARD and others of whom sketches appear in the following pages.

Harmon DILTS is the oldest living settler of Pleasant Valley township. In 1868, while living in Henry Co., Ill., he purchased eighty acres of his present farm, and in 1869, in company with his wife, came to Iowa, resided the first winter with John CRAPSER (CASPERS?), and the following spring moved into the house with George B. ROCKWELL, and the following season cultivated seventy acres of land now occupied by the village of Rockwell. During this time he continued to improve his own land, and in 1871 purchased a house, 14x18 feet, of Mrs. DILLINGHAM, at Linn Grove, which he had moved on his own farm the next December. In March, 1872, he moved on his own land which he has increased to 1 60 acres, now under good cultivation. Since 1875, in addition to farming he has followed herding, taking care of from 400 to 1,000 head of cattle annually. He was born in Wabash Co., Ind., Oct. 4, 1846, his parents being Thomas R., and Jane (GRANT) DILTS, who, in 1854, removed with their family to Henry Co., Ill., remained there till 1871, when they came to Iowa and settled near Rockwell. In 1868 Harmon DILTS married Mary C. GEER. They have three children — Barton, Sophia and Elmer. Mr. DILTS is a republican, has held township and school offices, and is a member of the Christian Church.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Harmon DILTS was born in 1846, and died in 1929. Mary C. (GEER) DILTS was born in 1861, and died in 1948. Barton DILTS was born November 23, 1870, and died November 15, 1946. Barton's wife, Verna, was born July 21, 1870, and died April 11, 1945. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

William CATHCART came to Cerro Gordo county, in 1871, subsequently spent two winters in the Wisconsin pineries, and in 1872 bought eighty acres of his present farm, which he has increased to 160 acres, under wood cultivation. He was born in Canada, May 30, 1846, his parents being John and Ann CATHCART, both natives of Ireland. He was reared on a farm, attended the common school, one winter being spent at school in Maine, and for several years followed logging and lumbering. In the spring of 1873 he married Anna THOMPSON, a daughter of Judge W. E. THOMPSON. They have had five children, two of whom are living — John W. and William D. Mr. CATHCART is a republican, is now a township treasurer, and a member of the M.E. Church.

Howard W. ROOD came in 1873, and is engaged in stock farming, having an excellent farm of 280 acres. He was born in Dane Co., Wis., July 20, 1849. His parents, Abram and Elizabeth (BAKER) ROOD, still reside there. He received a good education, attending the State University, at Madison. He farmed and taught until 1870, then spent eighteen months in Nebraska, when he returned to Wisconsin. In 1872 he came to Iowa and purchased eighty acres of his present home, then returned to his native State. He came to Iowa in 1873 and commenced improving and enlarging his farm. He married Nettie E., a daughter of W. E. THOMPSON, July 21, 1874. They have two children — Arthur and Ida May. Mr. ROOD is a republican in politics, and has held various offices of trust. They are members of the M.E. Church.

Among the places which deserve special mention, is the Pleasant Valley Stock Farm, of William WINTER, located on sections 33 and 34, in Pleasant Valley township. In 1878 Mr. WINTER erected a house on this land, and settled on it in 1880. He has now a fine residence, good and commodious barns, extensive cattle yards, substantial fences, groves, orchards and shade trees. The farm is well watered by the West Fork, and is one of the finest stock farms in northern Iowa. Still Mr. WINTER is not limited to this farm, as his real estate numbers about 1,000 acres, and his cattle ranches are located all along the valley of the West Fork, in Pleasant Valley, Grimes and Union townships. For about ten years he has been engaged in breeding shorthorned cattle, and now has a herd of 120 full blood. He also breeds Poland China hogs, and has some good blooded horses. He also herds annually about 2,000 head of stock for other parties, keeping them in five different ranches.

William WINTER was born in England, Dec. 5, 1832. On the 28th day of May, 1852, he married Sarah A. ROBINSON, and some years later emigrated to the United States and settled at Buffalo, N. Y. They have six children — William R., Charles A., Anna M., now the wife of W. A. KAYNOR, of Sanborn; George E., Lizzie A. and Frank O.

Mr. WINTER spent one year in the employ of Lewis F. ALLEN, who is the principal breeder of blooded stock in the United States, and it was during this time that he became imbued with a desire to engage in stock raising. After leaving Mr. ALLEN he engaged to supply the city of Buffalo with shade trees, and followed this for two years. The trees along Niagara street toward Black Rock and other parts of the city are monuments of his work. From Buffalo Mr. WINTER removed to St. Joseph Co., Mich., thence, in 1859, to Iowa, and settled near Cedar Falls where he engaged in real estate, contracting and building, and stock growing until 1873, at which time he transferred his interests to Cerro Gordo county. He is a man of excellent business qualifications, and is especially adapted to the business in which he is engaged. In politics he is a republican, but does not take much interest in politics, and is a member of the A. O. U.W.

Andrew W. STORER has been a resident of Pleasant Valley township since 1873, at which time he bought 160 acres on section 23, and at once commenced improvements, teaching school in winter and farming in the summer. He now owns 280 acres and is one of the leading farmers in the township. He is a republican, was the first road master of the township, and has also held other offices. In December, 1878, he married Ettie CANNON. They have two children — A. Willis and Eunice C. Andrew W. was born in [Portland, Dodge County] Wisconsin, Jan. 15, 1851, received a common school education, with one term at the State University at Madison, and remained in his native State until 1873. His parents, who reside in Dane Co., Wis., are Daniel (1825-1911) and Eunice (PALMER) (1829-1908) STORER.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Andrew Wallace STORER died in Mason City, Iowa, on November 29, 1904, and was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

N. E. WILLARD has resided in Pleasant Valley township since 1874, and owns a fine farm of 240 acres. He is a native of Oneida Co., N. Y., born Jan. 5, 1850. His parents were Edwin and Alvira (GREENFIELD) WILLARD. His mother died in New York. The family removed to Delaware in 1868. He received a good common school education, and in 1874 removed to Iowa. Dec. 23, 1874, he married Charlotte TREE, of Rockwell, born at Marble Rock, Floyd Co., Iowa. They have two children — Lillian and Mary.

Robert BUGHER purchased his present home in 1874. He was born in Morgan Co., Ohio, Jan. 5, 1825, and is the eldest of eleven children, nine of whom are living. His father, Isaac BUGHER, was a native of Pennsylvania, and died in Illinois. His mother, Isabelle (HAILYER) BUGHER, was a native of Virginia, and now lives in Adair Co., Iowa. Robert learned the carpenter trade of his father, but his health being inadequate, he became a farmer. In 1845 he married Elizabeth LAZIER, a native of Virginia. In 1848 he emigrated to Henry Co., Ill., where he followed farming and was very successful. Being desirous of obtaining more land, thus giving his sons better facilities, he removed to Iowa and secured the south half of section 9, in Pleasant Valley township, for which he paid $10 per acre, unimproved. It is a most desirable location, being well watered and having but little waste land to mar its value. When first removing, he lived one year on an adjoining improved farm, and in the meanwhile built his present spacious farm residence, and has since so improved, built and beautified his home, that he now possesses one of the finest farms in the county. He gives his principal attention to stock farming. He is democratic in politics. He served as justice of the peace fourteen years in Illinois, and has held the same office in Iowa. He iias also been trustee of township, school director, etc. He is highly respected as a citizen, and in social life is affable and courteous. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since 1848. Religiously, he is a Baptist. His children are — Nettie, wife of Marshall CARVER, Lander, Isaiah, Isaac, Alpheus, Robert and Cemantha (sic).

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Robert BURHER, Sr. died at the age of 72 years on November 2, 1897, and was interred at Rockwell Cemetery, Rockwell, Iowa. Samantha (BUGHER) WAY was born in March of 1873, and was interred at Clear Lake Cemetery, Clear Lake, Iowa. She was married March 22, 1893, Elwood, Nebraska, to Floyd WAY (1872-1922), also interrred at Clear Lake Cemetery. Isaac BUGHER was born February 3, 1859, Woodhull, Henry County, Illinois, and died August 9, 1927, Tracy, Lyon County, Minnesota, and was interred at Custer Township Cemetery, Lyon County, Minnesota.

Albert CORNELL resides on section 36, where he owns 160 acres of land. He came to Iowa in 1874. He was born in New York, June 30, 1842, and is a son of Owen and Theresa CORNELL, who emigrated to Illinois in 1846, where Albert was brought up on a farm. In 1862 he married Esther A. ABRAMS, daughter of H. J. and Rachel (RAY) ABRAMS. He continued to farm in Lee Co., Ill., until he came here. Mr. and Mrs. CORNELL have eight children — Mortimer, Emma, Rachel A., Harry, Lonnie, Katie, Ray and Mina. Mr. CORNELL is a democrat in politics, and has been honored with various township offices.

George POLLOCK and wife came to Cerro Gordo county in 1875, and settled in Pleasant Valley township where they have a comfortable home. He was born July 29, 1832, in Scotland, and at an early age commenced work in the mines, which he followed in his native county until he was nineteen years of age, then went to Ireland where he spent nine months, thence to England, where in 1856, he married Sarah ROYSTON. She is a consistent, earnest Christian lady, beloved by all who know her, and always ready to extend a helping hand to the poor and needy. In 1862 they came to the United States and first settled near Galena, 111. In 1865 they went to Colorado, remaining in the west until 1875, when they came to their present home in Iowa.

O. F. [Oramel Fletcher] HOVEY was born in Orange Co., Vt , July 11, 1825. His parents, were Alfred and Abigail (HOWARD) HOVEY. He was left motherless when twelve years of age, but his father subsequently married Sarah HENDRICKS. At the age of eighteen years, he went to Shellsburg, Wis., where he was first engaged in staging, then mining and afterwards engaged in farming In 1856 he went to California. While there, he had the misfortune to lose his right hand and have his left badly crippled, by coming in contact with a circular saw which he was operating. In 1858 he returned to Wisconsin, from whence in 1876, he came to Iowa and settled where he now resides. In 1851 [sic, should be 1850] he married Sarah [Jane] HALSTEAD, daughter of John and Sarah HALSTEAD, and they now have six children — Alva F., Alfred E. [born October, 1853], Eugenia J. [born 1857], now Mrs Lorenzo FOUSLER, Clara M. ["Milly" born 1861], Charles F. [born March 1866] and John H. [born February, 1874]. Politically, Mr. HOVEY is a republican, and was the first assessor of Pleasant Valley township. His religious connections are with the Baptists.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: O. F. HOVEY died prior to 1910. Sarah Jane (HALSTEAD) HOVEY was born September 24, 1833, Astabula County, Ohio, and died in Sheffield, Franklin County, Iowa, on March 7, 1914. Alvah F. HOVEY was born in Wisconsin, November of 1851, and was married to Mary Susan (LILLIE). Alvah and Mary Susan resided in Clear Lake, Iowa.

J. D. ABRAMS came to Iowa in 1869, first settling,, in Franklin county, but in 1876 located on the northeast quarter of section 36, Pleasant Valley township, where he has since resided and owns 160 acres of land. He was born Sept. 24, 1842, in Wayne Co., N. Y. His parents, Henry J. and Rachel (RAY) ABRAMS, emigrated with their family in 1877, to Lee Co., Ill., where J D. ABRAMS was brought up on a farm. In 1862 he enlisted in company K, 75th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, served three years, participated in the battles of Perryville, Stone River, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain and the Atlantic campaign, after which he returned home and resumed farming until he came to this county. In 1867 he married Almira SHOUDY, whose parents, Israel and Abigail SHOUDY, were among the earliest pioneers of Lee Co., Ill. They have three children — Fred C, George D. and Le Roy. Mr. ABRAMS is a republican, has been clerk of Pleasant Valley township since its organization, and is a member of the G.A.R., and enjoys a social chat with old comrades.

William HUNT located on section 25, his present home, in 1877. He is a native of England, born Nov. 1, 1848. He emigrated to the United States in 1869, making his home at LaFayette Co., Wis. In February, 1875, he married Maria, daughter of William and Eliza COOK. They at once removed to Iowa, residing at Sheffield until 1877, when they purchased their present farm of 160 acres, which he has well improved and beautified. They are the parents of four children — William, John, Ella and George.

O. B. MORAN located where he now lives, in Pleasant Valley township, in 1877. He was born in Westchester Co., N. Y., in November, 1835, resided there until 1848, then went to London, Conn., residing there in the family of Staunton HEWITT until he reached his majority, then came to Iowa, stopping first in Clayton county. In 1865 he went into Franklin county, but soon returned to Clayton county. In 1866 he again went to Franklin county, and engaged in farming in Richland township until 1877, when he came to his present home. He married Mary A. SHOBE, daughter of John SHOBE. They have two children— John A. and Myrtie L. In politics Mr. MORAN is a democrat.

Michael V. MORONEY purchased the farm on section 1, Pleasant Valley township, in 1878. It was then almost wild prairie land, but by labor and thrift he has converted it into a fine well improved farm. He was born in Ireland, Oct. 2, 1846. When four years of age his parents emigrated to the United States, settling in Outagamie Co., Wis., where they were among the pioneers. He received a good common school education, remaining at home farming until 1878, when he was united in marriage to Margaret REDDIN, when they at once came to Iowa, locating on their present home. He is regarded as one of the leading men in the township, and has held various offices of trust. They have two children — Ellen and Mary. His mother lives with them, his father being dead.


The first election was held at the BUGHER school house, on the 7th day of November, 1876. W. E. THOMPSON, Robert BUGHER and Harmon DILTS served as judges, and A. W. STORER and J. D. ABRAMS, as clerks. The following named persons were elected as the first officers:

Township trustees, John SHOBE, N. E. WILLARD and George POLLOCK. The latter refused to qualify and Harmon DILTS was appointed to fill the vacancy. Township clerk, J. D. ABRAMS; township assessor, O. F. HOVEY; justices of the peace, Robert BUGHER and W. E. THOMPSON.

In 1882 the officers were as follows:

J. W. CROUSE, trustee; John TOULOUSE was elected clerk, but failed to qualify and J. D. ABRAMS was appointed to fill vacancy ; W. E. THOMPSON and M. V. MORONEY, justices of the peace, and Andrew W. STORER, assessor.


The first school in the township was held in a small school house erected at SHOBE'S grove. The funds to support the school were drawn from Geneseo township, of which Pleasant Valley township at that time formed a part.

The second school house, which is known as the BUGHER school house, was erected on the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 9, on land donated by Robert BUGHER, who was the prime mover in obtaining the school. Mr. BUGHER met the school board at Mason City, and although there were not the required number of pupils necessary to compel the board to build a school house, he succeeded in getting the unanimous consent of the board to erect a school house at a cost of $700. This was done in 1875, and in the winter of 1875-6 a school was taught, Lizzie EGLOFF being the first teacher.

In 1876 a school house was erected on the southwest corner of section 25, and it is known as the HOVEY school house. Miss E. J. HOVEY, now the wife of Lorenzo FAUSLER, was the first teacher.

In 1878 two school houses were erected, oneou the southeast quarter of section 28, and one on the southeast quarter of section 14. The latter is known as the Pony school house, a name given it on account of its small size. Lizzie HADDOW was the first to impart instruction to the pupils who attend at this place.

The township now [1883] has six school houses, and its schools rank well with the older parts of the county.


In February, 1877, Rev. W. H. DRAKE organized a Methodist Episcopal society, which now holds its meetings at the Pony school house. Rev. DRAKE was succeeded in time by Rev. F. F. FRANKLIN, Rev. E. M. KEELING, Rev. W. P. PHIFER, Rev. S. C. PLATTS, Rev. B. WEBSTER and Rev. A. A. WILCOX. The society now numbers about twenty members and is in a good healthy condition. It also supports a good Sabbath school.


The first marriage ceremony performed in the township united Abram CHASE and Hattie HUNT, as husband and wife. John PIERSOL, Esq., officiating.

The first death was a child of Howard W. ROOD.

"Pleasant Valley Township." History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. Chapt. XXV. Pp. 931-39. Union Pub. Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

Additional information from WPA Graves Survey and cemetery transcriptions

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2011



  • 1895 Pleasant Valley Township Plat Map

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