Washington Township was organized March 15, 1856, and the first election held on the first Monday in April in the house of Joel King. As then organized, the township was a full Congressional township, but its area has since then been diminished, and a portion attached to De Witt.

The northeastern portion is settled quite largely by Germans; in the remainder of the township, the people are mostly Irish. Many of the first of these latter settlers, who came in about 1850, were from the same neighborhood in Ireland; and as they soon built a church of their own faith, others were attracted by the convenience of church privileges, and settled in this neighborhood.

Among the early settlers in this township were Elias Stallcup, Jerry Dingwell, John Smith, O. W. Denham, whose farm is now the County Farm, Washington Stallcup, George Benton, John Brogan, Christopher McGinn, Thomas O'Toole, John Cavanagh, H. M. White, who for a great number of years was Justice of the Peace; Burrill Bassett and John Southers, who settled here in the spring of 1851, on a spring on Section 11, which they found covered by an Indian wigwam; Old Campo spent the winter with them, and in the spring of 1852, he accompanied Bassett to California; Thomas Wilson, now of De Witt, Joseph Stone, George Farrell, Barney Flannery, John Lawler, Patrick Lawler, Daniel Lawler, Michael Trimble, James Harkins, the Burkes, the Cassadys, Patrick Shannon and others.

The first school meeting was held at the house of Rouse P. Brown, in the winter of 1854, and a Board of Directors elected and district organized. The officers elected were James Harkins, James Cornwall and Thomas Wilson. The township is now well supplied with commodious and neat school buildings. On the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter, Section 23, is located the only church in the township. It is a Catholic Church, and they also have a pastoral residence, out-buildings and a cemetery. The original church, which has been twice enlarged, was built in 1856, during the pastorate of Father Frances McKenna. Father John Scallan succeeded him in 1860. Father Thomas McCormick, now of De Witt, succeeded, being the first resident Pastor. During his stay, the church was enlarged, and a parsonage and out-buildings erected. He was succeeded by Father Gaffney, who is the present incumbent. The church has been enlarged a second time.

During the pastorate of Father McCormick, a great revolution was made in the community on the question of total abstinence. In December, 1875, he held a mission, at the conclusion of which the temperance pledge was given by him to nearly every member in his parish. In February, 1876, St. Patrick's Total Abstinence Society, of Center Grove, was organized. There were about 80 members. They erected a hall for their exclusive occupancy and a large circulating library has been established, and is doing much for the intellectual culture of the people.

There are no paupers in Washington Township, which speaks strongly for the industry and economy of its citizens.

The farms are mostly small ones, or rather there are few large land-owners in the township, and the farms are mostly of eighty to one hundred and sixty acres each.

John Dolan, who is the largest land-owner, settled in the northeastern part of the township in 1853.

Patrick Lawler is a prominent man in this township, and represented it for several years in the old Board of Supervisors.

James Harkins, when he settled in the township, in 1850, for a time lived in a hole in the ground; then he built a log house, since replaced by a fine residence. Only an instance of the success which attends industry and economy.

SOURCE: Allen, L. P., History of Clinton County, Iowa, Containing A History of the County, it's Cities, Towns, Etc. and Biographical Sketches of Citizens, War Record of it's Volunteers in the late Rebellion, General and Local Statistics, Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, History of the Northwest, History of Iowa, Map of Clinton County, Constitution of the United States, Miscellaneous Matters, &c, &c., Illustrated. Chicago IL; Western Historical Company, 1879




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