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

This township is south of Clear Lake township, west of Mount Vernon [township], north of Grimes [township], and is bounded on the west by Hancock county. Its territory comprises congressional township 95, range 22 west. This township is nearly all prairie land, the eastern part being quite rolling, but the greater portion is flat and wet. The higher lands are made up of a light soil, while the flat lands are composed of the most productive soil in the county, and when once drained will be the most valuable for agricultural purposes.


The first settlers of this township were James SMITH, Albert PRICE and his two sons, Robert and William, who came in 1865. Among other early settlers were Robert and William OWENS, who remained here until 1868, at which time they moved to Clear Lake.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: James SMITH was born February 2, 1823, Westmeath, Ireland, and died on May 21, 1893. He was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

William PRICE was born March 24, 1844, died December 5, 1889, and was interred at Clear Lake Cemetery, Clear Lake, Iowa.

Albert PRICE remained until 1868, when he moved to Sioux City, Iowa.

George WARD came in 1865 and purchased eighty acres of land on section 16, and in 1867 settled on the same, and still resides there.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: George WARD was born July 16, 1834, died April 27, 1911, and was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Afterward came the HENRY family, who arrived in 1869 and were residents of the township in 1883.

In 1867 Joseph BRAYTON settled in the township but only remained about two years, when he removed to Wisconsin, his former home. His son, Charles, came in 1867, and was a resident of Clear Lake township in 1883.

Michael HENRY, Sr., is a native of Ireland. He married, and in 1857 emigrated to the United States. He first settled in Rock Co., Wis., where he was engaged in farming until 1869 when he came to Iowa and has since resided in Union township. He has reared eight children, four now living Patrick, Mary, Michael and Thomas.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Michael HENRY, Sr. was born September 29, 1804, and was interred at [Elmwood-] St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Michael HENRY, Jr. was born July 27, 1843, in Ireland, and died January 3, 1908. His wife, Mary, was born Novemer 1, 1849, and died September 15, 1917. Their children: John E. HENRY was born May 9, 1882 and died December 13, 1923; Frankie HENRY was born November 1, 1885 and died November 22, 1885; Mamie HENRY was born April 21, 1887 and died August 15, 1889; Walter P. HENRY was born March 17, 1891 and died August 21, 1891. They were interrred at Block 4 of [Elmwood-] St. Joseph Cememtery, Mason City, Iowa.

Thomas HENRY, the youngest son, was born in Ireland Sept. 25, 1849. He came with his parents to the United States, and with them to Iowa, and is now engaged in farming in Union township. In politics he is a democrat. He has served as township clerk. Religiously, he is a Roman Catholic.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Thomas HENRY died at the age of 84 years on April 8, 1912. He was interred at Clear Lake Cemetery, Clear Lake, Iowa.

David W. HAMSTREET has been a resident of Cerro Gordo county since 1871. His parents, Jonathan and Elizabeth HAMSTREET, were residents of the State of New York at the time of his birth, April 11, 1841. They afterward went to Wisconsin, removing there with their family and interests, and settled on a farm, where David grew to man's estate. On coming to Iowa he resided at Clear Lake until 1875, when he settled in Union township. Mr. HAMSTREET is a republican in politics and is at present justice of the peace.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Jonathan HAMSTREET was born in 1915, and died in 1877. Elizabeth HAMSTREET was born in 1829, and died in 1909. They were interred at Clear Lake Cemetery, Clear Lake, Iowa.

E. S. PRIDE fixed his abode in Union township in 1872. His farm, situated on section 16, proved less valuable for farming purposes than he desired, and in June, 1879, he sold it and purchased 120 acres on section 23, where he has met with the prosperity his thrift and energy merits. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, Oct. 5, 1843, and is a son of Ransom W. and Harriet M. (GARY) PRIDE. His parents went to Wisconsin in 1844 where the father, a practical business man, engaged in mercantile affairs and also managed a hotel. They are now residents of Fond du Lac Co., Wis. Their family of nine children grew to maturity, and seven are now living. The six brothers and sisters of Mr. PRIDE are E. W., Albert, Helen, Adelia, Adelbert and Ida. Eugene S., of this sketch, in company with four brothers, became a soldier for the Union May 8, 1861. He enlisted in company B, 4th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served thirty-nine months, receiving an honorable discharge. He was married in 1867 to Lavilla MEAGHER, born in Waukesha Co., Wis. Seven of their eight children are yet living: Le Grand, Frank E., Emma E., Mina L., Bertha E., Jennie M. and an infant child. Mr. PRIDE has served his township as clerk, assessor and school director. He is a republican in political faith.

Wesley BENNER came to the county in 1872, stopped one winter in Clear Lake, then settled on section 21, where he had previously purchased 280 acres. He now has 200 acres of the same land under cultivation, and has a good residence. He was born in Licking Co., Ohio, Oct. 10, 1825. His parents were William and Sarah BENNER. He was left fatherless when only eighteen months old. His mother with her two children returned to the home of her parents. Here Wesley was reared on his grandfather's farm, and in 1846 enlisted in the 2d Ohio regiment, under Col. MORGAN, and served one year in the Mexican war. He then returned to Ohio but soon went to Miami Co., Ind., where his grandparents had removed. In 1849 he married Maria L. BEAN, a native of Ohio. In 1855 he came to Iowa and resided in Wapello county until he came to Cerro Gordo county. They have had nine children, four of whom are now living Sarah E., now Mrs. William DRYDEN; O. A., Celesta J., now Mrs. D. M. TICE, and Ida May. In politics he is a republican. He has been township trustee and president of the school board. Religiously, he is a Methodist Episcopal.

Gardner R. HIEKOK (sic, HICKOK), justice of the peace, was born in Allegany Co., N. Y., Feb. 21, 1834. His parents, Barzilla and Harriet (WOOD) HIEKOK (sic), were both natives of Fairfield Co.. Conn., and in 1839 went with their family to Indiana. The next year they went to Lockport, Ill., where the mother died in 1840. She left eight children, six of whom yet survive Harriet, Mary, Sylvester, Stephen, Gardner and Sarah. Mr. HIEKOK (sic) and his father went to Sauk Co., Wis., and in 1852 removed to Dubuque Co., Iowa. The father died there in 1873. The son was married in April, 1857, to Mary THOMPSON, a native of Ireland, but of Scotch parentage. In 1865 Mr. HIEKOK (sic) enlisted in company A, 46th Iowa, and was in the service four months. There are six children Samuel, William, George, Frank, Sarah, Robert and Pearl. In politics Mr. HIEKOK (sic) is a republican.

John G. PARKER came to the county in March, 1873, and settled on section 9 of Union township. In 1874 he removed to Clear Lake and ran a brick yard two years; also followed his trade as carpenter. He afterwards followed farming one year in Clear Lake township, and in 1882 returned to his farm in Union township. He was born in Saratoga Co., N. Y., Feb. 20, 1837. His parents are William and Abigail (GIBSON) PARKER. In 1842 the family emigrated to Illinois where the father died in 1850. The mother subsequently married Amos BROWN, and now resides near Manning, Iowa. There are three children in the family Simeon S., John G. and Silas. John was bred to farm life, learned the carpenter trade and in 18__ married Mary WALLEY. They have had six children, four of whom are now living Alice, Altneda, John and Nancy. Mr. PARKER in 1856 went to Missouri and remained one year, then returned to Illinois. In 1867 he came to Dallas Co., Iowa, but returned to Illinois in 1868. In politics he is a republican.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: John PARKER died in 1924. Mary C. (WALLEY) PARKER was born in 1842, and died in 1926. They were interred at Clear Lake Cemetery, Clear Lake, Iowa.

T. B. HOBBS has been, with the exception of a single year, a citizen of Union township since 1875. During the year referred to he managed a restaurant at Clear Lake. He was born in Delaware Co., Iowa, Feb. 4, 1842, His parents, C. W. and Mary E. A. (WILSON) HOBBS, were both natives of Maryland. They settled in Iowa in 1836, and two years later joined the pioneer element of Delaware county. The mother managed the first postoffice in that county. She died in 1855. The senior HOBBS married a second time, and died in 1878. He was a man of prominence in his township, where he operated in mercantile affairs until 1857. He was elected clerk of the district court of Delaware county, and afterwards United States land receiver when the Government office was located at Osage. Mr. HOBBS was bred to mercantile life in his father's store. In 1862 he enlisted in company G, 6th Iowa Cavalry, and was in active service forty months. On leaving the army, he interested himself in fanning in his native county. He was married in December, 1867, to Laura E. LOUGH, and in 1868 went to Madison county. In 1875 he settled in Cerro Gordo county. Mrs. HOBBS died in October, 1873, leaving two children, of whom one is living Fannie. Mr. HOBBS is a republican and has been the incumbent of the offices of road supervisor, assessor, clerk and school treasurer.

Charles B. HAMSTREET has been a resident of Union township since 1875. He was born in Walworth Co., Wis., July 28, 1851. His parents were Jonathan and Elizabeth (PRAMER) HAMSTREET. In 1852 the family removed to LaFayette Co., Wis. Here, at the age of thirteen years, Charles commenced work in a printing office, and at the age of seventeen became proprietor of the Dorrington Republican, and edited and published the same about eighteen months. He then sold out and came to Iowa. In 1871 he purchased a half interest in the Waukon Standard, of Waukon, Iowa, and was connected with the same about one year. He then gave up the business, on account of poor health, and for some time kept a book and music store at Platteville, Wis., thence came to Iowa and settled where he now resides. In 1870 he married Ella HENDY, who was born in Dodgeville, Wis. She is a daughter of Samuel and Ann (SHEPHERD) HENDY. They have four children George, Zadie, Anna and Bessie. In politics he is a republican, and is a well informed citizen.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Charles R. HAMSTREET died October 2, 1917. Ella (HENDY) HAMSTREET was born July 20, 1851, and died October 15, 1922. They were interred at Clear Lake Cemetery, Clear Lake, Iowa.

Fred SHELDON is a citizen of the United State by adoption, his parents, John and Louisa SHELDON, having taken up their residence in Wisconsin in 1854. They are still living where they first settled. Mr. SHELDON grew to man's estate on a farm. At the age of eighteen he enlisted in the defense of his country's flag. He was enrolled in 1862 in company H, 20th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He served three years, and was in action in the engagements at Prairie Grove, siege of Vicksburg, Fort Morgan, Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely. On his discharge he interested himself in farming and lumbering in Wisconsin until he came to Iowa, in 1876, when he fixed his residence in Cerro Gordo county. His first location was in the township of Lake. In 1879 he purchased his present property, on which he settled in 1880. He was born Sept. 19, 1844, and was married in May, 1871, to Sarah HARE. They have five children John, Fred, Minnie, Bert and Ida. In politics Mr. SHELDON is a republican, and has acted as school director. He is a great reader; takes several newspapers and keeps pace with current events.

George HAMSTREET, son of Jonathan and Elizabeth HAMSTREET, is a self-made man. He was born in LaFayette Co., Wis., Feb. 18, 1855, and resided in his native State until 1878. In that year he came to Iowa, and purchased forty acres of land in Union township. He had little means, but a plentiful amount of the more necessary article called pluck. He was bent on making his venture successful, and he accomplished his purpose by sheer determination. He now owns a good farm, made valuable by the character and amount of improvements he has made. In 1882 he was married to Frances, daughter of A. L. and L. GRIPPEN, of Mason City. Mr. HAMSTREET is a Republican, has been in local official positions, and is at present secretary of the school board.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Frances A. (GRIPPEN) HAMSTREET was born November 13, 1848, and died November 21, 1930, with interment at Clear Lake Cemetery, Clear Lake, Iowa.


The first marriage in Union township was O. A. BENNER and Emma CHAMBERLAIN, who were married in February, 1880. The ceremony was performed by David W. HAMSTREET, then justice of the peace.

The first birth occurred in September, 1870. It was a son of Thomas CALLANAN.

The first death was a child of E. S. PRIDE.


The first school in Union township was held in a log house on section 16. The first teacher was Henrietta SIRRINE, who had but five scholars Thomas, Willam and Mary CALLANAN, Edward BRAYTON and Elma BRAYTON. This was in the summer of 1870. The same summer a new school house was built on section 16, at a cost of $300. Miss SIRRINE taught the first school in this house.

The second school house was erected on section 6, in 1874, at a cost of $400. The first teacher here was Mary HUBBARD. A school house was built on section 23, in the spring of 1880, which cost $350. The first term of school was taught by Emma BENNER.

The same year there was another school building put up on section 11, at a cost of $350, the first school in it being taught by William CALLANAN.

The HUGHES school house was built in 1876, at a cost of $400. Emma CHAMBERLAIN taught there the first term.

Union township had five school houses in 1883.


Union township was created, by an act of the board of supervisors, in June, 1876; before that date it was embraced in Clear Lake township. The first election was held at the school house on section 16, in the spring of 1877. The first township officers were:

Wesley BENNER, James STORK and John FURSE, trustees; Charles HAMSTREET, assessor; E. S. PRIDE, clerk; Thomas HENRY, constable.

Those serving in 1883 were:

D. M. TICE, M. HENRY and B. W. BIGELOW, trustees; C. R. HAMSTREET, clerk; John PARKER, assessor; D. W. HAMSTREET and G. R. HICKOK, justices of the peace.

"Union Township." History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. Chapt. XXV. Pp. 939-43. Union Pub. Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

Additional information from WPA Graves Survey and cemetery transcriptions

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2011



  • 1895 Union Township Plat Map

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