Fremont County, Iowa

Township History

Locust Grove

February 12, 1904

Standard Historical Atlas of Mills & Fremont County
Anderson Publishing Company, Chicago 1910
History of Locust Grove Township
By Hon. B. A. Swisher

In this little historical sketch of Locust Grove Township we will endeavor to give the most important events as they transpired, according to records as given us by some of the oldest settlers. These events will be given in a condensed form and will doubtless be incomplete, as our time is limited.

Locust Grove Township is strictly an agricultural district, has no town within its borders and has never been transversed by a railroad. Yet the people are most surely energetic and progressive. Locust Grove is located in the extreme southeast corner of the county, bordered on the south by Missouri and the east by Page County, on the north by Fisher Township and on the west by Madison Township. The surface is well watered by small streams, tributary to Rock Creek on the southeast, High Creek in the central part, and Mill Creek on the northwest, all flowing to the southwest.

The first settlement in Locust Grove was on Section 25, by John Miner, John Smith and Abner Crock, all of whom came from Washington County Iowa in 1857. The same year G. W. Thayer settled on Section 28 residing there until his death in 1892. His son, George H. Thayer still resides on the same section, having been a continuous resident. In the year 1858 George and Charles Wilkinson settled on Sections 10 and 15. The first settlers came largely from Illinois. At present Locust Grove has quite a German population.

In 1858 the nearest school house was at Manti, the nearest railroad at Hamburg. The first church services were held at Joshua Haskinís residence in 1876. The first school was held at the private residence of G. W. Thayer, Miss Alice Swatman, teacher. First school house erected in Locust Grove on Section 15 in 1868, first teacher, Carrie Dupree.

The first female child born in Locust Grove was Violet, daughter of R. W. and Sarah Hayward, who was born Feb. 9, 1861. The first male child was Frank Wilkinson, son of George Wilkinson, born in 1861.

The records show the first township organization to be held in 1871. Officers were: Trustees, W. F. Culbertson, Isaac Wagoner and C. T. Howard; Clerk, J. R. Strong

In 1872 the old part of the cemetery was located on the northeast corner of south half and west quarter of Section 15. This was donated by Isaac Wagoner and contained one hundred square rods. The cemetery was platted and numbered by C. T. Howard, who also platted the new cemetery. Mr. Howard took a prominent part in all township affairs in an early day.

On Block A No. 87 lies the remains of Edna Wagoner, the first person to be laid to rest in the Locust Grove Cemetery.

In 1885 there was an addition made, enlarging the cemetery to sixteen by twenty rods, with still an additional lot on the south, where the Locust Grove church was erected, the same year. In 1904 the present parsonage was erected. There is a neat ornamental fence in front of the cemetery and an evergreen grove north and west of the church and parsonage, making this quite a picturesque spot.

In 1904 the German Lutherans erected a church and parsonage on Section 22, this being a very convenient location for the Germans, who are quite numerous in the south part of the township.

Since commencing this sketch some have suggested that the names of all who have served as township officials be given. As this might grow monotonous, only the names of those who are present residents of the township will be given, and none will be intentionally omitted. Trustees, James Mackey, William Holmes, Andrew Johnston, George R. Thayer, B. A. Swisher; Clerks, George Rush and B. A. Swisher, the latter having served as clerk for twenty-two consecutive years; Assessors, William Holmes, G. E. Griffin and W. A. Rice; Justices of peace, George W. Thayer, present Justice, and Wilbur Lynn; constables, Joseph Chester and A. T. Griffin. Locust Grove has at present seven sub school districts; secretary of school board, G. E. Griffin; treasurer, William Holmes, who has filled the office for a long term of years. Present township board, J. F. McQueen, R. W. King, John Livingston, trustees; F. I. Coykendall, clerk.

Locust Grove is one of the best townships in the county, though her surface is somewhat rolling, she has a fertile soil and produces abundantly large crops of grain and fruit of all kinds. She has many comfortable and beautiful dwellings, homes of a people of culture and refinement. In these qualifications she far out-distances the average districts, the secret of her success being her unfailing loyalty to home, school and church.

Transcribed by Cay Merryman

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