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

Portland township is bounded on the north by Falls township, on the east by Floyd county, on the south by Owen township, and on the west by Mason township, and comprises congressional township 96, range 19 west. The township is well watered by Lime creek and its tributaries. Lime creek enters the township on section 18, passes through in a general southeastern course, leaving the township from section 36, entering Floyd county. The Shell Rock river passes across the northeast corner of the township, passing through parts of sections 1 and 12, thence into Floyd county. The surface is rolling and the soil a rich, dark loam, which near the streams has a slight mixture of sand. The soil is of an unusual depth, in some places exceeding four feet of loam. On section 34 there is a clay bank which is frequently visited by curiosity seekers, who may find fine specimens of fossils. In the extreme northeastern portion of the township there is a beautiful natural grove, known as BUNCE'S Grove; also a portion of OWEN'S Grove is embraced in this township.


The first settlement was effected in 1853 by A. C. OWEN, who settled on section 31.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: A. C. OWEN was born in 1819, and died in 1892. Lorinda OWEN was born in 1823, and died in 1918. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

A. S. FELT settled June 7, 1855, on section 18.

The second family which settled in the township was that of William FELT, who came in October, 1855, and took up land on section 19. The family lived in Mason township until August, 1856, by which time Mr. FELT had a cabin built and ready for occupancy. Mr. FELT was still living on the place in 1883.

William FELT, eldest son of Horace and Susan M. FELT, was born in Lebanon, Madison Co., N. Y., Feb. 10, 1S22. He has been married twice. His first wife, Rachel (CONOVER) FELT, to whom he was married Dec. 19, 1844, died in 1848, leaving a daughter, now Mrs. T. J. TURNURE. His second marriage occurred in 1850. Mr. and Mrs. FELT, formerly Sarah M. LEE have reared seven children Ann Eliza, (Mrs. Henry WALDEN), Mary Jane, (died at eighteen years of age), Jay H., Samuel, Imogene, Rosa and Horace. In 1855 Mr. FELT settled in Iowa, and is a prominent member of the pioneer element that established the prestige of Cerro Gordo county, and especially of the township of Portland. He was a resident in the township of Mason one winter, while preparing a suitable home for his family on his own land. He has experienced all the peculiar privations of pioneer life. In politics Mr. FELT is a democrat.

G[eorge]. L. BUNCE came about this date, from Indiana, and settled on section 1, where he resided until 1861, after which he was the proprietor of the Commercial House, at Mason City, but in 1883 he was a resident of Wright county.

In the fall of 1855 Horace and L. GREGORY and their families settled on section 12. Wallace GREGORY, a son of Horace GREGORY, settled on section 11. The latter named died in 1857, and his remains were buried in the cemetery near Mr. REED'S in Floyd county, this being the first death in the township.

Louis BOOMHOVER and family settled on section 3, in the fall of 1855, and remained there until 1863, when he enlisted in the 32d Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was taken prisoner at Pleasant Hill. After the close of the war he returned to Cerro Gordo county, after which he soon removed to Illinois with his family.

A. S. FELT, whose connection with the founding and establishing of the village oF Portland is elsewhere recorded, made his entry into Cerro Gordo county June 7, 1855. At that date he purchased the southeast quarter of section 18, in township 96, range 19, and entered at once into possession of his property, thus becoming the second settler within the limits of what is now known as Portland township. Mr. FELT, with little delay, added to his landed interests and, during the years of 1856 and 1857 he held over 1,000 acres. His homestead estate now includes 365 acres of land, to which is given the name of the Portland Stock Farm. The property is admirably located, and is watered by Lime creek and numerous flowing springs. The farm and fixtures represent a cash estimate of at least $15,000. Mr. FELT received the school training common to farmer's sons in the section where he was reared, but his business experience and contact with the world at large, have supplemented the rather meagre intellectual culture of his boyhood, in a manner that fully supplies whatever he lacked in that respect. He attained to man's estate on his father's farm, and, when life opened before him with its vested responsibilities, he turned his face toward the Far West. After a brief stay at Chicago and Bloomington,Illinois, he came to Iowa and located as above stated. He was married Dec. 1, 1857, at Osage, Iowa, to Mary L. WHITAKER, a native of Orange Co., N. Y. Benjamin F., Susan E., Frank S., Lillie D., Charles H., Nettie, Maude, Arthur A., Clarence C. and Harry are the names of their nine children.

Mr. FELT has always been an adherent of the democratic party, but during the civil war was an inflexible sustainer of the integrity of the Union. He has discharged his obligations as a citizen in a manner consonant with the whole tenor of his life. He was born in Lebanon, Madison Co., N.Y., Dec. 1, 1833. His father, Horace FELT, was born in Lebanon, N. Y., Aug. 19, 1795, and died in the same house where he was born, Nov. 2, 1851. Mrs. FELT, the mother, (Susan Maria WEAVER before her marriage), was born in Stonington, Conn., Jan. 22, 1798, and died in Providence, R. I., July 27, 1873. Their family included besides Mr. FELT of this sketch, eight children, six of whom are yet living William J., George J., Polly A., John J., Cynthia A. and James H.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Alonza S. FELT was born in 1833, and died in 1895. Mary L. (WHITAKER) FELT was born in 1836, and died in 1934. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Henry SENIOR, in July, 1855, erected a log cabin on the southwest quarter of section 2, Portland township, the flooring of which was sawed at Rock Falls, the first saw-mill in Cerro Gordo county being located there. He improved his land until 1863, when he rented it and removed to Mason City, where he followed his trade, and engaged in the boot and shoe trade until 1873, when he returned to his farm. He now owns 615 acres, giving his principal attention to stock and grain raising. He is a native of Yorkshire, England, born June 22, 1826. He learned the shoemaker trade, and followed it there until 1850, when he emigrated to Kenosha, Wis. He was married Aug. 5, 1853, to Mary BROWN, also a native of England. In October, 1882, he returned to his nativ e country and remained seven months, visiting old scenes and old friends. He is regarded as a man of the strictest honor, and one of Cerro Gordo's best citizens. The children are Joseph, Frank and Eliza.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Joseph SENIOR died on April 8, 1939. His wife, Cora Elizabeth, died November 1, 1941. They were interred at Memorial Park Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Other early settlers were John and Samuel BROWN, with their families, who located in the summer of 1855 on section 2. The same year David REED and his family settled on section 3 and there resided until 1882, when they moved to Dakota territory.

During 1856 among those who came to the township for settlement were Amos PARDEE, John and Samuel JEFFORDS, John M. HUNT and John FORD.

John JEFFORDS settled on the southeast quarter of section 7, and his brother Samuel on the southwest quarter of section 8. They built a log cabin and lived there about a year and then sold out. Samuel died at Forest City, Iowa. John is a carpenter and builder by trade, and in 1883 was living at Mason City.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Samuel JEFFORDS died of tuberculosis in the Fall of 1859, Forest City, Iowa. His demise was the first death in Forest City, Winnebago County, Iowa.

John M. HUNT, a native of Indiana, located on section 1, in the spring of 1856. He came from Floyd county, where he had served as county judge. In 1865 he sold and removed to Kansas, and later to Oregon.

John F. FORD settled on section 2. He was a single man at the time, but married soon after. He was killed at the battle of Pleasant Hill [Louisiana].

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Pvt. John F. FORD served with Company B of the 32nd Iowa Infantry during the Civil War. Pvt. FORD was killed in the Battle of Pleasant Hill on April 9, 1864.

Amos PARDEE first came to Cerro Gordo county in 1855. He was accompanied by John WEST. He purchased 200 acres of land on section 34, Portland township, returned to Chicago and brought his family in 1856, settled on his land and commenced improving it, but as his health was poor and the county but sparsely settled, he returned with his family to Chicago, in 1858, and in 1861 he enlisted in company D, 8th Illinois Cavalry, and served three years, after which he returned to Chicago, and soon after came to Iowa and again settled on his land where he has since lived. Mr. PARDEE was born in Michigan, Sept. 25, 1834, but when a small child removed with his parents to northern Illinois. In 1856 he married Jane HEWITT, born in Cook Co., Ill., March 30, 1838. They have two children Frank M. and Orrin A.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Amos PARDEE's gravestone gives 1833 as his birth year. He died in South Dakota on June 6, 1905. Sarah "Jane" (HEWITT) died December 31, 1889. Amos and Sarah "Jane" were interred at Riverview Cemetery, Brule County, South Dakota. Amos' mother, Olive (STILSON) PARDEE, was born in 1792, and died on September 15, 1870. She was buried in Block 2, Plot 9 with her two daughters Mary Matilda (ALLEN) WEST and Martha M. (PARDEE) MEACHAM and her sons-in-law at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa. Olive's gravestone was broken and eventually removed in 1981.

In 1857 Isaac TREVETT and family settled on section 15. Frank and George TREVETT, sons of Isaac, who were married, also settled in this township. James CLARK, who was a son-in-law of Isaac TREVETT, also came with the family. In 1858 Demos CUTLER settled on section 25, resided there a few years and then moved to Floyd county.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Isaac TREVETT was born April 10, 1805, England, and died April 25, 1893. Eliza TREVETT, Isaac's wife, was born June 19, 1805, and died on October 19, 1896. George C. TREVETT was born in Broadmayne, Dorest, England, on January 20, 1828, and died on April 9, 1920. Elizabeth, George's wife, was born June 29, 1824, and died December 15, 1900. Albert G., son of George C. and Elizabeth TREVETT, was born January 10, 1852, and died August 7, 1917. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Charles TREVETT, son of Isaac and was born in England on February 29, 1832, and died in Nora Springs, Iowa, on December 12, 1899. Charles and his wife, Sarah Ann (KELLY) (1849-1912) were interred at Rock Grove Township Cemetery, Floyd County, Iowa.

Benjamin FROST settled on section 27, Portland township, in 1861, purchased about 500 acres and cultivated the same until 1871, when he rented his land and removed to Kansas. In 1874 he returned and again had charge of his farm until 1882. He now resides in Wilson Co., Kan. He was born in 1814 in Massachusetts, where he lived with his parents until he was seventeen years of age, then for several years was engaged in the lead mines in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. In 1845, in Dubuque Co., Iowa, he married Elizabeth FILBRIC, and then engaged in farming in the same county, until he came to Cerro Gordo. They have had three children, two now living William F. and Benjamin T.

William F. FROST came with his parents to Cerro Gordo Co., Iowa, in 1861, and has since been a resident of Portland township, with the exception of three years spent in Kansas. He was born in Dubuque Co., Iowa, Dec, 12, 1846. On the 23rd of May, 1868, he was married to Sarah J. FROST, a daughter of Frederick and Adaline FROST. By this marriage they have three children Eva E., Florence D. and Frank E.

S. MEACHAM became a permanent settler of Iowa in 1864, and lives on section 34, Portland township, where he owns 135 acres of good land. He was born in Oswego Co., N. Y., Oct. 26, 1834, his parents being Sylvester and Eliza E. (KNOWLTON) MEACHAM. The father died shortly before he was born and the mother eight years subsequent, and the son lived with his grandfather, James KNOWLTON, until he was seventeen years of age, when the family emigrated to Cook Co., ILL. In 1855 he married Martha PARDEE, daughter of Stephen and Olive (STILSON) PARDEE, who was born in McHenry Co., Ill., on the 9th of April, 1638. In 1857 they came to Iowa and settled at Nora Springs, Floyd county, but the fall of the same year returned to Illinois. In September, 1861, Mr. MEACHAM enlisted in the 8th Illinois Cavalry [Company D], and served three years, at the end of which time he returned home, then came to Iowa, and has since resided here.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Sylvester MEACHAM died onMarch 30, 1914. Martha M. (PARDEE) MEACHAM died on July 18, 1917. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

John G. BAILEY is an early settler of Cerro Gordo county. He resides on section 33, Portland township, and now owns 160 acres. He was born in Cambridgeshire, England, May 22, 1838. His parents were John and Phoebe BAILEY. About the year 1853 his father's family came to the United States, and settled in McHenry Co., Ill., where the father died in 1866, and the mother in 1881. There were eleven children in his father's family Phoebe, now Mrs. ANDREWS; Amelia, now Mrs. James COLEMAN; Ruth, now Mrs. John SUTTON; John G., Mary Ann, deceased; Richard, who enlisted in company H, 95th Illinois, was wounded at the battle of Vicksburg, and was afterwards killed in the battle of Guntown, Mississippi; Frederick, Hattie, now Mrs. Abner R. STILSON; Emma, now Mrs. C. R. FRANKLIN; Charles and Fuller.

John G. BAILEY enlisted in 1802 in company H, 95th Illinois, and served three years. On his return from the war he married Miss L. L. STILSON, daughter of S. S. and Eleanor STILSON. They have two daughters Lillie and Ella.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: John George BAILEY died on May 18, 1907. Laura L. (STILSON) BAILEY was born July 15, 1844, and died April 1, 1925. John and Laura were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Samuel BUCKINGHAM came to Iowa in 1865, locating on section 26, Portland township, and engaged in farming until his death, which occurred in Chippewa Falls, Wis., where he was visiting at the time. He was born in New York, on the 22d of February, 1802. His parents dying when he was very young, he lived with his grandmother, who lived to the age of 105 years. When she was 100 years of age she could read without the aid of glasses, having obtained her second sight. He received a common school education. He seemed, as the phrase goes, a natural born mechanic. He learned the blacksmith's trade at an early age, and for a number of years was engaged in the manufacture of edged tools. He also acquired the trade of mill-wright, which he followed in Pennsylvania from 1841 until 1865, when he removed to Iowa. He was thrice married. In 1824 to Persie FAIRCHILD, by whom he had eight children, four of whom are living Lucinda, Eliza, Esther and Andrew J. His wife died in 1867. His second wife died in three weeks after marriage. He subsequently married and was living with his third wife at the time of his death. He was successful in business, leaving at his death an estate of 200 acres of land and considerable personal property. He was a republican in politics, but took interest enough only to vote.

A. J. BURLINGHAM, a resident of Portland township since 1865, is the possessor of a fine stock farm of 320 acres. He was born in Chenango Co., N. Y., Nov. 11, 1836. His parents removed to Pennsylvania, where he was bred to farm life, but received a good education, remaining there until 1863. He then went to Wisconsin and two years later came to Iowa. He married in September, 1868, Olive E., a daughter of John [(1825-1901) and Mary Matilda (ALLEN)] WEST. She died Aug. 5, 1880, leaving one daughter Mary May.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Andrew J. BURLINGHAM died February 7, 1899. His wife, Olive Eliza (WEST) BURLINGHAM, was born October 3, 1846, and died August 5, 1880. Olive Eliza's parents, John WEST was born December 3, 1825, served with Co. B. of the 32nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry fro 1862-1865 during the Civil War, and died on September 29, 1901; Mary Matilda (ALLEN) WEST, daughter of Olive (STILSON) PARDEE, was born July 30, 1826, and died November 8, 1923. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Abner R. STILSON resides on section 33, Portland township, where he purchased and settled on 160 acres of land, in 1866. He now owns 280 acres and has good improvements. He was born in McHenry Co., Ill., June 9, 1838. His parents were Sylvester S. and Eleanor E. (BISHOP) STILSON, the former a native of New York, and the latter of Ohio. There were eight children in his father's family, six now living James M., W. B., A. R., O. H., Laura, now Mrs. J. G. BAILEY; and Ellen, now Mrs. John A. McMULLEN. Abner STILSON, in 1861, enlisted in company A, 7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served fifteen months, when he was discharged on account of disability caused by a gun shot wound received at the battle of Gainsville. In 1866 he was married to Harriet E. "Hattie" BAILEY, daughter of John and Phebe BAILEY. They have four children Carrie, Lincoln, Scott and Arthur. Mr. STILSON is a republican in politics, also a member of the Masonic fraternity.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Abner R. STILSON'S gravestone gives his birth date as January 9, 1839. He died June 11, 1905. Harriett E. "Hattie" (BAILEY) STILSON was born May 7, 1845, and died May 7, 1928. William B. STILSON, Abner's brother, was born February 28, 1832, and died January 3, 1932. Sons of Abner R. and Harriet E. "Hattie" (BAILEY) STILSON: Arthur STILSON was born April 27, 1873, and died January 16, 1901; Lincoln B. STILSON was born September 28, 1867, and died September 8, 1928; Scott I. STILSON was born March 17, 1869, and died March 22, 1914. They were interrred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

M. E. BITTERMAN is a prominent and reliable citizen of Portland township. He is closely associated with the progress and best interests of the community of which he is a member; has held most of the local offices of trust, such as township trustee, treasurer, assessor and school director. He has been a resident of the county since March, 1870, when he settled on section 11, of this township, on eighty acres which he had purchased fifteen years previous. He has added to his possessions until he now owns a tract of 280 acres under a good degree of cultivation, where he is operating to a considerable extent as a stock farmer. He was born in [Canton] Ohio, Aug. 26, 1843, and is a son of Frederick and Margaret BITTERMAN. [His father Frederick died when he was four-years-old, and his mother Margaret remarried to Samuel SPOTTS.] At the age of seventeen years he went to Illinois and engaged in farming, and also bought and shipped hay at that time a prominent article of traffic. In 1866 [February of 1865 as per Floyd County history] he was married at Lockport, Will county [Illinois], to Sarah, daughter of George and Catharine [(KRAMER)] HEINTZELMAN. They have six children J[ames]. Calvin, Edward, Jennie, Trullie, Mary and Clinton. Mr. BITTERMAN is a republican and is connected with the Evangelical Association.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Manias E. BITTERMAN served from 1892 to 1896 as a member of the 24th and 25th Iowa State Assembly. He died December 23, 1919, Nora Springs. Sarah (HEINTZELMAN) BITTERMAN was born in Centre County, Pennsylvania on November 9, 1842, and died July 31, 1920, Nora Springs. They were interred at Park Cemetery, Floyd County, Iowa.

Of Manias E. and Sarah (HEINTZELMAN) BITTERMAN'S children: James Calvin was born September 12, 1866, Plainfield, Will County, Illinois, and died February 6, 1956, Mason City, and his wife, Annie Elizabeth (PICKFORD) BITTERMAN was born December 6, 1865, and died November 27, 1949;

Edward Llewellyn BITTERMAN was born in 1868, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, and died in 1953, his wife, Imogene G. was born in 1873, and died in 1967; Jenny (BITTERMAN) CHAPMAN was born in 1870, Portland, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, and died in 1948; Trullie (BITTERMAN) SCHULTE was born at Portland on October 28, 1871, and died October 3, 1951, her husband Jay SCHULTE, born May 1, 1875 and died May 31, 1916, and her son Theodore Manias SCHULTE, born March 1, 1907, Montana and died January 5, 1956, share a gravestone with Trullie; and, Manias Clinton BITTERMAN was born in Portland, Iowa in 1879, and died in 1938, Iowa, and his wife, Mary M. was born in 1880, and died in 1960. All interments were made at Park Cemetery, Nora Springs, Floyd County, Iowa.

Daniel W. HAYNES, whose vocation is farming, has been a resident of Portland township since the fall of 1870, residing on section 13, where he owns 120 acres of fine land. He was born in Cortland Co., N. Y., Feb. 26, 1838, his parents being William and Phebe (WEBSTER) HAYNES. He was bred to farm life, and in 1857 was married to Jane Alice. In 1860 he emigrated to Olmstead Co., Minn., where he engaged in farming, then removed to Cerro Gordo county, where he has since lived. He has three children Albert, Frederick and Belle. Politically he is a republican, and is a member of the Evangelical Church.

John BISHOP has resided, since March, 1870, on section 14, Portland township, where he owns eighty acres of land. He was born in Stark Co., Ohio, Oct. 13, 1842, being the son of Joseph and Elizabeth (WEAVER) BISHOP. His mother died when he was three years of age and he lived with his sister, Elizabeth, wife of Solomon MILLER. At the age of seventeen he commenced the world for himself, and in 1862 enlisted in company I, 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving one year, when he was discharged on account of physical disability. He then returned to Ohio and in 1865 went to Will Co., Ill., where he remained until he came to Iowa, in 1870. In 1872 he married Lucinda SPOTTS, daughter of Samuel and Sophia (BELTZ) SPOTTS. They have six children Nathaniel [born 1873], Frank [born 1874], Alice [born 1876], Edward [born 1878], Mary [Grace born 1880] and Laura [born 1882, died 1970, and children Arthur born 1884, Lloyd 1887 and died 1912, Jay born 1889, Glenn born 1892, and Blaine born 1895 and died 1963]. Mr. BISHOP is a republican in politics, and in religion is an Evangelical.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: John BISHOP died on April 22, 1912, Portland, Iowa. Lucinda (SPOTTS) BISHOP was born in Summit County, Ohio, on January 28, 1852, and died in Nora Springs, Iowa, on June 26, 1941. They were interred at Rock Grove Township Cemetery, Floyd County, Iowa.

A. W. MULLAN, postmaster and justice of the peace, is the pioneer merchant of Portland. He was born in Boston, Mass., April 14, 1839. He is a son of Martha (sic) and Mary (WHELAN) MULLAN, and being deprived of his mother, by death, when he was two years of age, he was cared for in the family of his maternal uncle, John WHELAN. In 1842 the latter removed to Waukesha Co., Wis., where Mr. MULLAN was occupied with agriculture until eighteen-years-old, when he learned the carpenter's trade. On the breaking out of the rebellion Mr. MULLAN enlisted. He was enrolled in August, 1862, in company B, 28th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and remained in the service of the Union about three years, receiving an honorable discharge in June, 1865. On his return to Wisconsin he resumed his trade, and in 1867 was married to Melvina McCORMICK. Mrs. MULLAN was born in Dodge Co., Wis. In 1870 Mr. MULLAN came to Iowa and pursued his trade at Mason City until 1877, at which date he established his present business at Portland. He has one son Charles Mullan. He is a republican in political sentiment, and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.

H. S. SABIN is a son of New England by birth and descent. His father, Daniel SABIN, was a Baptist clergyman, and the influences of scholarly culture which surrounded the son have in a sense directed the chief object of his life, the education and material development of his own sons. They are in honorable and lucrative positions which they gained and retain through their pre-eminent abilities and learning. Arthur C. SABIN is accountant in the First National Bank, of Glenwood, Iowa. Alva Horton SABIN is a professor in the State University, of Burlington, Vt., and holds the chair of chemistry. Mr. SABIN was born in Franklin Co., Vt., April 17, 1821. He received a good education, and has always maintained his familiarity with books, and kept pace with the times in knowledge of current events. In 1844 he was married to Zaida VERNAL, and went to St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., where he engaged in farming, four years. He sold out and went back to Vermont, and afterwards, accompanied by his parents, went to Ripon, Wis. His father died there in July, 1882, aged eighty-seven years. His mother is yet residing in that place, and is ninety-years-old. Mr. SABIN came to Iowa, in 1871, and purchased the farm where he now lives. During the ten years following his purchase he made many improvements on his place, when failing health compelled him to abandon active life and he returned to Wisconsin. In the meantime he lost his wife. In February, 1879, he was married to Mrs. Phebe Ann (SMISTH) DeLONG, a native of Canada West. He has returned to and occupies his farm.

Samuel SPOTTS has been a resident of the township since November, 1871. He is located on section 15, owning 185 acres of land. He was born in Summit Co., Ohio, Sept. 13, 1822. His parents were Ludwig and Susan [Susannah (JINNIS)] SPOTTS. He was reared on a farm, but also learned the miller's trade. In Summit Co., Ohio, he married Sophia BELTS, in March, 1845. She died in December, 1854, having had six children, but one of whom survives Lucinda, the wife of John BISHOP. In 1855 Mr. SPOTTS married Mrs. Margaret BITTERMAN, a native of Stark Co., Ohio, born June 23, 1821. Her parents, Abraham and Elizabeth BAIR, were natives of Pennsylvania, where they lived on a farm. Margaret BAIR was married to Frederick BITTERMAN, by which union there were two children, one of whom was living in 1883 M[anias]. E. BITTERMAN. By the present marriage three children are living Abraham L., Mary I.), and Samuel N., who was born in Will Co., Ill., Jan. 1, 1880. Abraham L. married Emma HEINSELMAN, of this township, and Mary E. married Levi P. HENRICKSON, of Mitchell county. Politically, Mr. SPOTTS is a strong republican. Both Mr. and Mrs. SPOTTS are members of the Free Methodist Church, while their children are Evangelical.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Samuel SPOTTS married for the third time at age 80 years, and died in Los Angeles, California, on July 6, 1911. Margaret (BAIR) BITTERMAN SPOTTS was born in Stark County, Ohio, on June 23, 1821, and died May 2, 1901, Mason City, Iowa. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Abraham Lincoln SPOTTS was born in Ohio in 1856, and died in 1941; farmed near Portland of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa; married January 1, 1880 to Emma Louise HEINSELMAN, daughter of Jonathan and Bertha (KEIM) and was born in Plainfield, Illinois in 1860, and died in 1936. They were interred at Park Cemetery, Nora Springs, Floyd County, Iowa.

L. M. VanAUKEN has been a resident of Portland township since June 1, 1872. He purchased his present farm of 180 acres in 1870, and now has the same well under cultivation. He was born in Cayuga Co., N. Y., June 5, 1835. His parents were Moses and Eliza Ann (DENNIS) VanAUKEN, also natives of the Empire State. Mr. VanAUKEN received a common school education, helped till the soil, and, March 12, 1857, married Mary J. LAWRENCE. She was born in the city of New York, being a daughter of John and Elizabeth (CROSBY) LAWRENCE. He followed farming most of the time, although he was for a time engaged in running a hotel, and for a few years did a large life insurance business. They have had seven children, five now living Lawrence, Elmer, Grant, Julia and Harriet. Mr. VanAUKEN is an active worker in the ranks of the republican party. He is a member of Cato Lodge, No. 141, of the Masonic fraternity.

John HARROUN, one of the solid men of Portland township, is located on section 19. His handsome and spacious brick dwelling is a decided ornament to the township, and gives evidence of the good taste and home instincts of the proprietor. Among many improvements may be named a bearing orchard of 350 fruit trees, set out in 1876, which he increased in 1883 by setting out 250 more. He hopes to prove further that fruit can be grown successfully in Iowa, and has every encouragement from success already attained. Mr. HARROUN was born in Meadville, Penn., Feb. 24, 1828; is a son of Russell and Alvira (SIZER) HARROUN. In 1847 he left the Keystone State and went to Wisconsin, where he remained several years. He went back to Pennsylvania in 1856 and was united in marriage to Lydia B. GREENLEE, born in that Stale, and daughter of Maxon and Catharine (COMPTON) GREENLEE. Soon after Mr. HARROUN and wife joined the pioneer corps of Olmstead Co., Minn., and engaged in farming, in which they were eminently successful. They disposed of^their possessions there in 1875, when they came to Cerro Gordo county and purchased the homestead they now occupy. Park B., Alma E., Lizzie D., Archie and Carrie are the names of the sons and daughters of Mr. HARROUN'S interesting household. He takes little active interest in po itics but votes with the republican party on all general issues. In religious views he is a Christadelphian.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: John HARROUND died on August 25, 1898. Lydia B. (GREENLEE) HARROUN was born on August 24, 1835, and died onOctober 18, 1901. Russel HARROUN was born in 1801, and died on August 27, 1886. Archie Willard HARROUN was born September 22, 1869, died in 1946, Jessie M., his wife, was born in 1872, died 1955, and their infant son was born and died in 1908. All interments were made at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Thomas STANBERY settled with his mother on section 33, Portland township, in 1877, and has since devoted his time to farming. He came, however, with his parents to Cerro Gordo county when he was very young, and was educated in the schools of Mason City. When he was nineteen years of age he engaged in a confectionery and tobacco store in Mason City, and continued in this for one year, then having no regular business until 1875, when he settled on the farm where he now resides. He was born in Vinton, Iowa, Jan. 4, 1854, and was the son of W. C. and Eliza (STUTLER) STANBERY.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Thomas STANBERY'S gravestone gives his birth date as January 5, 1853. He died on November 1, 1923, with interment at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa. Eliza (STUTLER) STANBERY was born March 29, 1829, and died March 7, 1910. Dr. William Crawford STANBERY was born in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, on January 29, 1824, and died April 29, 1874, Mason City, Iowa. Dr. STANBERY was a 1st Lt. and Provost Marshall during the Civil War, serving with the 32nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Dr. STANBERY and Eliza (STUTLER) STANBERY were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Jacob BAUER came to the county and purchased his present farm and has since been a resident of Portland township, where he owns 160 acres of land which he has changed from the raw prairie to a well improved farm. Mr. BAUER was born in Jefferson Co., Wis., Jan. 1, 1855, his parents being John and Barbara BAUER. He helped till the soil, and in 1876 married Minerva HAKE. She was also born in Wisconsin. They at once came to Iowa. They have one son Arthur. In politics he is a democrat; in religious views, Evangelical.

A. J. [Andrew Jackson] BARKER, manager of Rock Rest Farm, has been a resident of the estate thus designated since April, 1878. It includes something over 200 acres of land, and is the property of Mrs. Harriet CRAMER, wife of the well-known William E. CRAMER, of Milwaukee. It is located on sections 7 and 18, Portland township, and was purchased in April, 1878, with the purpose of getting it in proper condition for a stock farm of the most approved character, which project has been developed, Mrs. CRAMER sparing no expense in accomplishing her purpose. The attractive, simple style of Rock Rest Farm was contributed by some young ladies, who found rest and happiness in the shadow of a large boulder lying on the farm. The year following her purchase, Mrs. CRAMER expended upwards of $5,000 in the construction of a suitable dwelling and barn, and since that time much time, labor and money has been consumed in placing the farm in the best possible condition. Mr. BARKER is a brother of Mrs. CRAMER. He was born in Marquette Co., Wis., in [January 20] 1857, and is the son of C. G. [Charles Grandison] and Alice (DOYLE) BARKER. He was brought up on a farm, and was a resident of Wisconsin until the purchase of the farm he occupies, by his sister, when he took possession as manager. Mr. BARKER was married in October, 1874, to Mary, daughter of L. T. and Mary A. PRICE.

James PARKER, proprietor of the Portland Cheese Factory, was born in Erie Co., N. Y., Jan. 2, 1833. His parents, David and Esther (HOAG) PARKER, were both natives of Vermont. The family included eight children, seven of whom yet survive. The death of one took place in the spring of 1883. They emigrated in 1845 to Lake Co., Ill., where the parents died. Mr. PARKER was reared as the sons of farmers commonly are, but later, was engaged in a general store where he was in business twelve years. In 1877 he established a cheese factory in Lake Co., Ill., which he operated until February, 1879, at which date he sold out and founded his business in Portland. In February, 1870, Hattie L. GRISWOLD became his wife, and they now have three children Jennie, Andrew J. and Edwin.

C. A. HAWLEY, a resident of Portland since 1882, by trade a blacksmith and wagon maker, who is now working at his trade, was born in Dane Co., Wis., May 18, 1855, his parents being Thomas and Marion (FORD) HAWLEY. In 1865 he went to Fillmore Co., Minn., then to Osage, Iowa. He was married July 3, 1879, to Anna M. EVERSON, also a native of Wisconsin, her parents being Oley and Jane (TUPPER) EVERSON. They experienced religion in 1880. They have two children Arthur H. and Clayton E.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: C. A. HAWLEY'S gravestone is illegible, as is Anna's. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.


As now constituted, Portland township was organized in 1869. The first township officers were:

J. J. FORD, A. J. BURLINGHAM, and Joseph FORBES, trustees; F. C. TREVETT, clerk; H. G. McGREGOR and George FISH, justices of the peace.

The officers of 1883 were:

M. E. BITTERMAN, Philip DENNIS and S. MEACHAM, trustees; D. W. HAINES, assessor; Arthur PICKFORD, clerk; A. W. MULLAN and Henry GOUDE, justices of the peace.


A. J. ABBOTT came to the county in June, 1855, and located on section 32, and commenced making the necessary improvements preparatory to sending for his family, who were still in Vermont. ABBOTT and Charles WICKS boarded with Abiel PIERCE. On Dec. 22, 1855, ABBOTT and WICKS went to what is now Geneseo township, with three yoke of oxen, to get some logs with which to build a stable. When they left in the morning the atmosphere was mild, and a pleasant day was expected; but while they were in the timber, a violent storm came up, and it is supposed they left the timber for home about three or four o'clock in the afternoon, and at one time must have been within two miles of home. But they evidently had become lost and bewildered, probably on account of the wind having changed its course. It seems, however, that the animal instinct taught the oxen to even face the piercing blast and make directly for their home, while the men urged them in an opposite direction, against an almost uncontrolable determination upon their part to go home. At last they abandoned the cattle and started from the sled on foot, taking a southeastern course.

Mr. WICKS being the weaker of the two soon became exhausted. He was no doubt, assisted, and perhaps dragged along for some distance by his comrade, ABBOTT, but at last had to succumb.

Mr. ABBOTT marked the fatal spot by sticking his ox goad in the deep snow drift, and hanging an old sack, in which was left the remains of their lunch, upon it, which could be seen at quite a distance.

ABBOTT then proceeded alone until he became exhausted. No doubt, when he laid down, he evidently fully realized that he was about to sleep the long sleep of death, as he straightened himself out upon the snow and folded his arms in order, over his breast, as if conscious of the awful fact that a terrible fate had overtaken him. He was found in this position by Alonzo WILLSON about three days afterward.

From facts soon ascertained, it was found he had wandered fourteen miles from home, and at one time was within 200 yards of a turnpike road, which had he been fortunate enough to have gained, would have guided him homeward.

The following day the storm abated about 1 o'clock, a.m., when OWEN, WILLSON and PIERCE started out in search of their friends, ABBOTT and WICKS, and by following the trail of the sled, left perceptible in the snow, they finally found the sled. This was just at sundown the first day of the search. This proved to them beyond doubt that the men had been lost and turned the oxen loose.

They resumed their hunt the day following and succeeded in finding WICKS, who was sitting with his face upon his arms, leaning against a bunch of frozen weeds and grass. The sight, as described by Mr. WILLSON, who was one of the first to discover him, was terrible, indeed, as he evidently had been bitterly weeping, and his face had frozen in a manner that put this beyond doubt in the minds of those who saw the frozen form. His body was taken to his boarding place and home of Mr. PIERCE. It was with the utmost ex- ertion that his limbs could be straightened sufficiently to get his form into a coffin.

On the third day after the storm, the neighborhood again went forth to find ABBOTT, and after following dim traces for weary hours, they found him as before described, laying upon his back, with his frozen features but slightly distorted.

Alonzo WILLSON went to Mason City in search of coffins for the two unfortunates, and owing to a scarcity of lumber, was obliged to take part of a store counter furnished by Judge LONG, out of which to make them, and, with the help of a carpenter, the rude coffins were finally made, and the remains of the poor unfortunates were buried at Owen's Grove [Cemetery].

Of Charles WICKS but little was known, save that he was a native of Massachusetts, and a single man who made his home at Mr. PIERCE'S.

Andrew Jackson ABBOTT was from New Hampshire. He was born in October [11], 1825, and remained with his parents on a farm until nineteen years of age, at which time he commenced working at the trade of stone cutter, following it for several years in the New England States. He was married Jan. 3, 1854, in Rutland, Vt., to Louisa C. MARSH, a native of the same county and State. For a time he was overseer of the stone works on the Wabash railroad, in Indiana. In March, 1855, he took his wife and daughter back to Vermont, remaining there a short time himself, then returned to the west, coming to Iowa in search of work, meeting the sad fate recorded. His daughter, who was a mere babe at the time of his death, was afterward Mrs. H. M. VERNALL. In December, 1857, Mr. ABBOTT'S widow married his brother, Emri ABBOTT, and by this union there were two children Andrew J. and Roberta E. Emri ABBOTT enlisted in the 32d Iowa Volunteers, served one year, his health failed him, and after a lingering illness at his home, he died Feb. 22, 1866. Mrs. ABBOTT has since had the care of the estate, which included 400 acres of land in Cerro Gordo county, 120 of which was deeded to her eldest daughter, Mrs. VERNALL.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Charles WICKS and Andrew Jackson ABBOTT died on December 22, 1855. Andrew Jackson ABBOTT'S remains were later moved from Owen's Grove Cemetery and re-interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Addie M. (ABBOTT) VERNALL, daughter of Andrew Jackson and Louisa C. (MARSH) ABBOTT, was born November 12, 1854, and died March 22, 1913. She was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.


The Portland Mills are located on the north side of Lime creek, which furnishes a twelve foot head of water. The building is three stories high, 30x48 feet in size, and is provided with three run of stones and six sets of rollers. This mill was built in 1870 by James T. GRAHAM at a cost of $10,000, but it has since been greatly improved, making the value at present about $20,000. Mr. GRAHAM sold to James D. SHEHAN in 1873, and he, in 1877, to C. J. COGGIN.


Among the leading enterprises of Cerro Gordo county is the Portland Cheese Factory, erected in 1879 by James PARKER. It was still operated by him in 1883. A. S. FELT is deserving of special credit for this enterprise as he donated the site for the factory. He also furnished the stone for the building and did work and gave cash to the amount of about $1,000. The factory is located on the right bank of Lime creek near the Portland Mills. It is 30x60 feet, and 20 feet high, including basement. It is a lime stone structure. Its cost, together with the machinery, was about $4,000. There is an engine room, 18x18 feet, which has been added, which, with other improvements, makes the property worth upwards of $5,000.


The first sermon preached in the township was delivered by Rev. HOLBROOK, a Methodist minister, in a log school house on section 1, in 1856. The Baptists and United Brethren each had organized societies in the township, but only one remained in 1883, the Evangelical Association, formed at a school house in district Nov. 4, in 1872. The first members were: J. J. LONG and family, H. H. LONG and family Samuel SPOTTS and family. Their class leader was J. J. LONG. Rev. George YOUNGBLOOD, their first regular pastor, was succeeded by Revs. KNOLL, METHFERSEL, NAHAR, FINK, KINSBERLONG and KLETZZING.

The society in 1883 had twenty members. In 1880 a union Sunday school was organized and continued two years, when it was changed into an Evangelic school, having for its first superintendent Henry GOOD. The present superintendent is William GANNON.


In the fall of 1856 the people of the northeastern part of Portland township erected a log school house, and in the winter of 1856-7 held the first school, which was taught by Truman JUDSON. Among his pupils were Isaac, Adaline and Lucinda REED, also Samuel and Ellis BROWN, and four children of Mr. WILLIAMS', two of Mr. BUNCE'S and three of John BROWN'S. There were nine districts in this township and ten school houses, in 1883.


The first death was Wallace McGREGOR, who died in the spring of 1857. His remains are buried near Benjamin REED'S.

The first birth was Sarah, daughter of John and Ann BROWN, which occurred in August, 1855.

The first marriage was that of Mitchell JACKSON and Sylva REED, a daughter of David REED. The ceremony was performed by Rev. MEADE, at the home of the bride. This couple now reside in Floyd county.


The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company put in a side track on section 18, and in 1878 A. S. FELT laid out a portion of the southeast quarter of said section into town lots and called the same Portland. He also set out a large number of shade trees along the streets. The village has not made a rapid growth, on account of its proximity to Mason City. It, however, has two general stores, two ware houses, flouring mill, cheese factory, blacksmith shop and postoffice.

The second store building was erected by A. S. FELT in the summer of 1880, and Oct. 25, of said year, his son opened a general mercantile business which he continued until May 1, 1883, when he closed out and removed to St. Cloud, Minn., but in a few weeks thereafter the store was reopened by D. W. ANDERSON.

The first grain warehouse was built in 1877 by BASSETT & HUNTING, of McGregor. In 1879 the firm removed the same to Clear Lake and supplied its place by a larger one established in 1877, since which time A. W. removed from West Union.

The second warehouse was erected in 1880 by A. B. TREDWAY, of Nora Springs, which was resold in 1882 to A. W. MULLAN.

A postoffice was established in 1874 and James SHEHAN appointed postmaster. This office was discontinued in 1876, and re-established with A. W. MULLAN as postmaster.

A blacksmith shop was erected by A. S. FELT, which was first occupied by William McKEY. He was succeeded in February, 1882, by C. A. HAWLEY, who in the spring of 1883 purchased the same. Mr. HAWLEY also does wood-work.

"Portland Township." History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. Chapt. XXXIII. Pp. 917-30. Union Pub. Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

Additional information from WPA Graves Survey, cemetery transcriptions, census transcriptions

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2011



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