C. E. Thomas


William Houck was the first settler in this township, coming in 1860. He settled in the NW 1/4 of Sec. 31. John Young, John Skellinger and J. Louck came soon after. Houck sold his place to Mr. Vasey.

The Houck schoolhouse was built in 1865, being the first one in the township. The first religious services were held in the Philbrick school house in 1870. Isaac Pritchard acquired title to the N. W. frl quarter of Sec. 2 by homestading it. His son, John Pritchard, acquired title to the N. E. quarter of Sec. 28 in Beaver township in the same way. The land speculators who entered most of the land in the country happend to overlook these pieces. These men are thought to be the only persons in this county who got land by homesteading. Dirk and Fred Rewerts entered the SW 1/4 of Sec. 4 under the Homestead Act, but they did so only in order to perfect their title, as the land had been deeded by the government, but an imperfection existed in the title, which could be cured in that way easier than any other.

In the spring of 1868 five young men who had been neighbors in Carroll county, Illinois, arrived in Grundy, and four of them bought Sec. 9. Geo. Finlayson bought the NE 1/4, Wm. H. Gunn the NW 1/4, William Hild the SW 1/4 and David Hild the SE 1/4. The price paid was $5 per acre, for all but the NE 1/4, for which $5.25 was paid, as it was bought a few weeks later than the other quarters and land had advanced in price. R. M. Finlayson belonged to this party, but having no money, he did not buy at this time. The first election was held in the Houck school house, now Dist. No. 9. Ten votes were cast, the voters being John Young, Alex Relyea, Lemuel Houck, Charles Philbrick, D. M. Fay, William Houck, J. W. Skellinger, William Place, Conrad Pickelman and Nathaniel Tibbet. Place, Pickelman and Tibbits lived in what is now Colfax township.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 8 May 1924, pg 1