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History of Fayette County, Iowa,

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

Page 571

Putnam Township

" The first settlement made in Township 91 north, Range 7, was by a man named Serving, in 1850, on Section 24. Serving soon after sold his claim to the Harrows, who, like him, remained but a short time.. J. Brun bought out one of them and became the first permanent settler. Some of the first settlers in this township succeeded in getting their lands at 75 cents an acre.

Preparatory to the organization of Putnam Township, named in honor of the hero of Revolutionary fame, the County Judge ordered an election to be held in April, 1855. The election was held, but the Clerk neglected to make a return as the law required, and the organization was necessarily deferred till the following year. The electors voting in 1855 were R. Aldrich, Sr., R. Aldrich, Jr., Mr. McNary, W. C. Hicks, J. Hallowell, J. B. Squires, J. L. Bruce and J. C. Folsom. Another election was ordered by the Judge for April, 1856, at which time the organization was completed, the meeting being held at the house of Samuel Joy. J. B. Squires and Samuel Probasco were elected Justices; Samuel Westcott, Joseph Hallowell, W. S. Warner, Trustees; Alva Bush, Clerk; Samuel WWestcott, Assessor; J. Rowley, Mr. Canfield, Constables; Patrick Bears, Road Supervisor. W. S. Warner, Albert Bush and Joseph Hallowell sat as Judges, and Joseph Hallowell and Alva Bush officiated as Clerks. C. G. Wheeland, W. Hicks, Jay and James Squires also attended the election.

In 1858, a Board of School Directors, composed of Solomon Joy, J. B. Squires and L. H. Abbott, was chosen, who proceeded to organize three school districts. The first school was taught by Mrs. Rowley in No. 1, for the pecuniary emolument of $1.00 per week. The next school was in No. 3, followed by a term held in No. 2. Sub-District No. 4 was organized in 1859, and in the next two years, Nos. 5, 6 and 7 were formed. No. 11 was not set off till 1871. The first school house was purchased from Orvil Wood for $30.00, for No. 4.

October 18, 1873, a petition was presented to the Board, signed by eighty-two voters, asking for a dissolution of the Township District system, and that the sub-districts be allowed to organize under the independent system. The election was held in December, and a majority given for the change.

The township is now well settled, and every school district has suitable educational facilities. Up to about 1870, the farmers of Putnam made grain raising their principal reliance, but since that time much attention has been given to dairying, from which business they are receiving very satisfactory returns. For two or three years after the first settlement of the township, their grain had to be hauled to Dubuque, Elkader or McGregor, a long and tedious journey, but since 1860, railroads have been built within a few miles, and the towns of Strawberry Point, Brush Creek, Independence and Manchester give ample facilities for marketing their produce.

C. G. Wheeland, who was one of the first voters in Putnam, on reaching Dubuque, left his family there and started on foot to find a home to suit him, making a long trip through Iowa and Minnesota. Passing over the the beautiful prairie composing this part of Fayette County, and observing the fertility of the soil, he selected his future home and proceeded without further delay to Dubuque to enter it.

The township contains a post office, several church organizations, and Sabbath school are organized in most of the school districts. One lawyer and one physician attend to the legal and the physical needs of the community. There are three butter factories or creameries in operation. Brayton & Castle started business in 1876, and at the present time employ three hands and make about 280 pounds of butter per day, which is shipped to New York. C. G. Wheeland & Co. and J. A. Harris are also in the same business, and in this industry, Putnam at present takes precedence over any other township in the county.

September 1, 1871, Samuel Morley was killed by being caught in the coupling of his own threshing machine, his ribs being torn loose from the backbone.

This township (91-7), is in the southeastern corner of the county, and is nearly all beautifully rolling prairie, watered by a few small streams. There is a little timber near the southeast corner."


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