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History of Fayette County, Iowa,

A history of the County, its Cities, Towns Etc.

Page 570

Oran Township

"Township 91, Range 10, forming the southwestern subdivision of Fayette County, was first settled by an Irishman, whose name is now forgotten. This waif from the "Emerald Isle" built a little cabin and did some breaking on Section 17, probably in 1853. He did not remain long, however. This cabin was afterward occupied by William Way, now residing in Fayette.

Those who followed the Irish settler above alluded to were J. J. Roberts and Mr. Furcht.

The immigration during 1853 and 1854 was considerable, among them being Mr. Shippe, P. McCunniff, O. C. Kent, L. D. Wellman and others.

The first death occurring in the township was that of an emigrant, who, being sick, breathed his last in his wagon, and was buried at his last camping place. Old settlers do not recall his name, and it is probable that his death occurred in 1852.

The first marriage consummated was that of L. D. Wellman to Caroline Roberts; Lyman Curtis, Justice of the Peace, pronouncing the words of admonition and union, October 5, 1856.

The next wedding was that of John Minton to Betsey Kent, in the Winter of 1857-58.

The second death in the township was that of Mrs. O. C. Kent, in 1857. Her father was a Mormon Elder, and possessed the gift of "laying on of hands." The father visited her while she lay sick, but his power for once proved ineffectual.

The first school was held in a part of P. McCunniff's house, in the Winter of 1855-56, J. J. Roberts, teacher.

The following Summer, a school house was built near McCunniff's, Charles Robertson, builder. Charles Bennett wielded the birch therein during the Winter of 1857-58.

A Baptist Church was organized in Oran, in December, 1855, with nine members. The first meeting was held at the house of Simon Schults. J. F. Reardon was elected as Moderator, and J. H. Ross, Clerk. The first church edifice was under the auspices of Methodist Protestants, near the north line of the township, in 1856. Charles Robinson did the carpenter work. The foundation was laid and the plastering done by Mr. Johnson.

P. W. Hough built a saw-mill on Section 28 the same year.

A careful search, by R. J. Young, Clerk, has brought to light the order creating the civil township, of which the following is a copy:

To L. J. Curtis, Greeting:
Whereas, The County Court of Fayette County, Iowa, has formed a new township under the name of Oran, and embracing the Townships 91 and 92 north, in Range 10 west, you are hereby authorized to call an election, by posting up notices in three of the most public places in the township, to be holden at the house of E. C. Abbott, on the first Monday in April, 1855, at 9 o'clock A. M. for the purpose of electing the following officers, to wit: Two Justices of the Peace, two Constables, three Trustees, one Clerk, one Supervisor of Roads, one Judge of the Tenth Judicial District, one Recorder for the County, one Assessor, and a vote on the Prohibitory Liquor Law; and this shall be your sufficient warrant.
By order of the County Court, Gabriel Long, County Judge.

The first election was held at the house of E. C. Abbott on the 2d day of April, 1855.

This township has made material progress since its first settlement, twenty-five years ago. Its population in 1875 was composed of 148 families, with an aggregate of 776 souls. In that year, there were 13,112 acres in cultivation, yielding, among other crops, 51,843 bushels of wheat, 80,793 bushels of corn and 1,087 bushels of flax-seed. There were 637 milk cows, producing 48,605 pounds of butter, and 1,946 head of swine."


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