Geo. M. Haskin


This township was named for Felix Grundy, a stateman of Tennessee. The first settlers were John and Oscar Royer. William Vinton came in 1865. Keener F. Price was the oldest settler as to continuous residence, from 1855 till the time of his death. To illustrate to the younger people something of the way in which this country was settled, I will relate my parent's experience. In the spring of 1855 Morris and Louis Haskin, of Farmington, Ill., loaded a wagon and a two spring "hack" with a few household goods, provisions, horse feed and a few other necessaries, and started for Felix township, as they had purchased 200 acres of land there.

Father drove a yoke of oxen and a yoke of cows hitched to the wagon, and mother followed with the horses and buggy, a baby boy one year old on her lap and a three year old girl by her side. They traveled many days, sometimes sticking with their loads in the miry sloughs. Fording creeks and rivers with difficulty, they finally reached their destination June 5th, 1855. They lived in a small log cabin, with a clapboard roof, but no ceiling or floor, and snakes could make their entrance and exit at will. Soon after a saw mill was located at Albion, to which logs were hauled and sawed into lumber, and another log house was built which had both ceiling and floor. This was considered a splendid house at that time. At the time of our settlement in Felix there was not a mile of railroad in Iowa. All our goods were at first hauled by team from Dubuque, then from Iowa City, and after the Ill. Central railroad came to Waterloo, in 1861, from that place. Wheat sold for 31 cents to 68 cents per bushel; dressed hogs $2 per hundred pounds; while nails cost 15 cents per pound; calico 25 cents per yard; salt $8 per barrel and other things in proportion. Salt was needed for use by the neighbors, with which to salt down their meat so it would keep until the next summer, and Johanna Wiley volunteered to go to Dubuque, a distance of 145 miles after a load. He made the trip there and back all right, until he crossed the creek just north of Conrad Grove. It was in January, and owing to a thaw the creek was high and the road slippery. His horses fell just as he got across the bridge, broke the double tree and the wagon went back into the stream, causing an entire loss of his load of salt.

The "Camanche" tornado passed over southern Grundy on Sunday, June 6, 1860. This storm, which was first seen in the vicinity of Fort Dodge, crossed this state, destroying almost everything in its path. Comanche, a town of nearly 1200 in Clinton county, was swept away, as was Albany, a small town in Illinois directly across the river from it. It continued its course across the state of Illinois and was last seen on its way across Lake Michigan.

This storm, accompanied by rain and hail, struck the little town of New Providence in Hardin county and destroyed it, but no lives were lost there. Farther on in its course it struck the house of a Mr. Christ, killing his wife. It next struck the brick and stone house of a Mr. Divine, in which there were fourteen people, of whom six were killed, including Mrs. Divine and four of her children.

It entered Grundy county just north of where Whitten now stands and destroyed a house occupied by Mr. Long, but they were not at home.

A house occupied by the Gallager family was destroyed, and Mr. and Mrs. Gallager were badly injured. After the storm their baby was found out in a field, entirely naked, and covered with mud, but it survived the terrible experience. The homes of William Vinton, William Bates and Mark Modlin were destroyed. Young Mark Modlin, then a child, was carried more than forty rods. He caught hold of a roof board and was still clinging to it when found. The board was driven deep into the ground, but the child was uninjured. No one was killed in this county, which can be explained in part by the fact that many of those who lived in the track of the storm were away from home on that day.

As soon as the storm passed people came from near and far with clothes, provisions, etc., for the sufferers. Many left their own fields to plow corn and help build fences and houses for those who had lost them.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 15 May 1924, pg 1, 3