" 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
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
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