This is township 94 north, range 5
west, and contains thirty six full sections. It is
south of Monona, west of Farmersburg, north of
Boardman, and east of Marion. It is drained by
numerous streams, of which the largest is Turkey
River, flowing through the southwestern part. Near
where it leaves the township are situated the
well-known Big Springs. These beautiful springs run
from under an almost perpendicular bluff, and are
situated about thirty rods from the river, and are
the same distance apart. The next stream of water to
the north is Dry Run, which enters the township in
section 19, and runs in a southerly direction for
about two miles, when it is lost in a sink-hole about
a mile from Turkey River. The hole in which it sinks
is large enough for a man to descend in very easily.
Milo P. Clark descended eighty feet into this hole
and failed to reach the bottom. In the southern and
eastern part of the township there are many of such
sink-holes, which are very deep. The deepest
soundings fail to reach the bottom. Robert's Creek
flows in a winding course diagonally through the
township, from northwest to southeast. It was named
after Mr. Roberts, the first white man who lived on
its banks. He settled in Marion Township. This creek
enters Wagner in section 7, and leaves the town in
section 25. It is a beautiful stream, and in the
western part of the township there are several good
water-powers. In the eastern portion of the township
the greater part, and at some seasons of the year all
the water in this creek, is lost in the sink-holes.
It takes the name of Pony Creek after entering Pony
Hollow. There is excellent timber in Wagner, and
about one-third of the land is prairie.
Wagner was named after one
of the first settlers, John Wagner, Sr. He was truly
a pioneer. Born in Pennsylvania, he emigrated to Ohio
while yet a young man. He lived there until the
country began to settle up, and then in 1845 he again
emigrated to Illinois. Not liking it there, in 1846
he came to Iowa and settled in this township.
The township was organized
in 1852, and the first election was held the
following year. At that time the population was less
than a dozen families, the principal citizens being -
John Wagner, Joseph Stiner, John Hopas, Sr., Philip
Walter and William Patterson.
Allen E. Wanzer, now
deceased, was probably the first settler in Wagner
Township. He located on the banks of Turkey River and
built a cabin, where he traded with the Indians for a
number of years. Another early settler and Indian
trader was a Mr. Williams, who also had a cabin on
Turkey River. Other early settlers were Mr. Ebersoll,
who settled on Turkey River; John Wagner (deceased),
who came in 1846 and settled on what is now the
Patterson farm (died in 1864). Mr. Hoppas, Mr. Stiner
and others came soon after, and from that time
immigration was rapid.
The first death occurred in
1849, and was that of a woman, name unknown, who was
passing through with an emigrant train, at the house
of J. Hoppas. At about the same time a Mr. Stewart
died, who was buried in the Patterson graveyard.
The first birth was that of
Rosalia Patterson, a daughter of William Patterson.
The first marriage was that
of Isaac Havens and Sarah Wagner, daughter of John
Wagner, Nov. 15, 1846. The ceremony was performed by
H. H. Singer, Esp. Mr. and Mrs. Havens now live in
The first Justice of the
Peace in Wagner was a Mr. Jackson, who afterward
removed to the southern part of the State.
The first school in Wagner
was taught in a log school-house by Laura Williamson,
who lived in Pony Hollow. About the same time (1850)
a school was opened in a log hut on section 29, and
was taught by Sara J. Patterson, now Mrs. Alexander
Atwood. About a year previous a log school-house had
been partially erected on section 20, but it was
taken down and moved away.
The first land entered was
the farm on section 33, now owned by Ezra Patterson.
The Norwegians, of whom a
great number live in Wagner Township have several
schools where children are taught in the Norwegian
language. They have one school-house near the
Lutheran church, and in other portions of the
township schools are conducted in private houses.
Wagner does not boast of
many manufactories, as its people are almost entirely
agricultural. There is one good mill however.
Walter's Mill, run by water-power, was built on
Robert's Creek on section 17, in 1871, by P. Walter.
It is thirty feet wide, forty feet long and three
stories high. It has two run of stone, and is
supplied with the necessary machinery for making
flour, meal, etc. It has the custom of the country
for many miles around. It costs $10,000, including
machinery, dam, etc. The creek always furnishes a
sufficient head of water to run the mill.
The first election was held
April 4, 1853, in the Haskins school-house. The
officers then chosen were: David Reddick, Philip
Walter and Lucius Haskins, Trustees; Milo P. Clark
and Joshua Jackson, Justices of the Peace; Joshua
Jackson, Assessor; Milo P. Clark, Town Clerk; John
Harhhaus and Coleman Garvin, Constables; Henry Geil,
John Patterson and Jacob Ashely, Road Supervisors.
The present township
officers are : D.T. Walton, Wesley Patterson and John
Larson, Trustees; Ed. Reynolds and William Monlux,
Justices of the Peace; John Johnson, Assessor;
William Monlux, Clerk; Henry Holverson and Henry
Ronquist, Constables. Elections are held in Havens'
Wagner has seven school
districts, with a good school-house in each, one, in
district three, being of stone, and the others frame
structures. The average value is $500. The building
at St. Olaf cost $1,000. There is an independent
district, composed of three sections from the
northeastern corner of Wagner and three from
Farmersburg Township, which contains two
There are three churches in
Wagner Township - the Norwegian Lutheran, the United
Brethren, and the German Methodist.
The Norwegian Lutheran
Church was organized in 1854, with 100 members. Their
first house of worship was built in 1857. This was a
small frame building, and was used until 1874, when
the present building was erected. It is 36 X 60 feet,
and cost $5,570. The present membership is 421. The
first pastor was Rev. Mr. Korn; the present one is
Rev. Ole Waldeland.
The United Brethren Church
was built on section 17 in 1881. It is 40 X 46 feet,
and cost $1,800. The first pastor was John
Baskerville, who was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Smith, the
present incumbent. Services are held every two weeks.
Sunday-school meets every Sunday, with an average
attendance of about thirty-five.
Wagner postoffice was
established about 1859, at the residence of E.B.
Bailey, on section 4. Mr. Bailey was the first
Postmaster, and held the office several years. It has
been held since successively by Patrick Sullivan,
P.B. Eno, W.P. Eno, Simon Early, William Monlux,
Henry Walters, then W.P. Eno again. Mr. Eno is the
present Postmaster, and his residence is on section