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from the History of Harrison County Iowa, by Hon. Charles W. Hunt, Logan,
published 1915, B. F. Bowen & Company Inc. Pages 85-89.
Extracted from the History of Harrison County Iowa, by Hon. Charles W. Hunt, Logan, published 1915, B. F. Bowen & Company Inc. Pages 85-89.
County and Township Organization
Harrison county was at one time part of Keokuk county. It was established in 1851 and became an original county, March 7, 1853, by an act of the fourth General Assembly, which enactment also appointed Abraham Fletcher, Charles Wolcott and A.D. Jones, respectively of Fremont, Mills and Pottawattamie counties, as commissioners to locate the seat of justice, the name of which was to be Magnolia, and who were to meet early in March for that purpose. The name is derived from William Henry Harrison, that noted Indian fighter, the hero of the battle of Tippecanoe, who was made the ninth President of the United States. Michael McKenney was appointed organizing sheriff by the same authority. The aforesaid locating commissioners met at the A. D Jones, in Pottawattamie county and executed the business for which they had been appointed. They selected the southeast corner of section 32, township 80, range 43 west, and gave the name of the tract selected “Magnolia.” and the organizing sheriff called an election on the first Monday in April, the same year, 1853, at which time a full corps of county officials were elected.
There were two other locations desiring the county seat – one was at Calhoun, fostered by Daniel Brown, the county’s first actual settler, and another faction wanted it located on the Boyer river, to the east of present Logan.
When organized, the county was divided, into two voting precincts, one on the west side of the Boyer river, at Magnolia, and the other east of that stream at Owen’s Thorpe’s, who lived then at Jeddo. This is a defunct village, and for many years was within the farm of Hon. L. R. Bolter. The first election resulted in the return of the following officers: Stephen King, county judge; P. G. Cooper, treasurer and recorder; William Cooper, clerk of the courts; G. H. White, surveyor, and John Thompson, school fund commissioner.
The voting returns for the first election held in Harrison county were carried to the house of Stephen King, to there be counted. James Hardy and Thomas B. Neeley took the poll books from the west side of the county to Judge King’s place. Upon arriving at the banks of the swollen and unbridged Boyer, they staked their horses, undressed and swam the river, keeping their scanty wardrobes and record-books, above high-water mark. They then dressed and went on to Judge King’s, all of which was not as funny then as it seems at this date.
Before the organization of Harrison county in 1853, several of the voters exercised their right of franchise by going to Council Bluffs, where they were allowed to cast their ballot. Among such gentlemen are known to have been Messrs. William Dakan, W.B. Copeland, and S. W. Condit, who walked all the way to Council Bluffs and cast their votes for the presidential candidates.
A Just Judge
Having installed the preliminary machinery to operate a county government, it was at once set in operation, under the “One man Power” county judge system, but which in the case of Judge King was never abused, as it was in many parts of Iowa. Among the first things to be done after organizing, was to set off and lay out the various civil subdivisions, or townships, in the newly formed county. At first the county was the first with, but which in the case of Judge King was never abused, as it was in many parts of Iowa. Among the first things to be done after organizing, was to set off and lay out the various civil subdivisions, or townships, in the newly formed county. At first the county was the first with onl two townships -- Magnolia and Jefferson. County Judge J. P. Cooper attempted to sub-divide the county into five townships—Magnolia, Sioux, Washington, Wayne, Jefferson, but through some error or mismanagement, this act did not stand. This was in February, 1854 and in March of that year, “Sioux” and “LaGrange” were erected. Just when and by what authority the prefix “Little” was finally added to Sioux the records seem entirely silent concerning.
In March, 1855, Calhoun township was set off from Magnolia.
Again in September, that same year (1855) the county was redistricted , making the civil townships conform to the congressional townships. In a few instances, the names of some of these have been changed from time to time, for various reasons. The subjoined is a list of the townships within Harrison county at this date (1915), with the date of organizations, etc.:
Allen, constituted in 1872, comprises township 81, range 43. and was named for its first settler.
Boyer, constituted prior to 1857, comprises township 80, range 42, and was named for the river bearing that name, which flows through the county.
Cass, continued prior to 1857, now comprises township 79, range 41, named for the celebrated Michigan statesman, Lewis Cass.
Calhoun, constituted prior to 1857, changed subsequently, comprises township 79, range 43, and was named secondary from the village of Calhoun, which is within its borders. The village was named from old Fort Calhoun located on the banks of the Missouri river at point opposite where the village was platted in 1853.
Cincinnati, was constituted in 1856, and comprises township 78, range 45, and was named for the large number of persons, headed by Jacob Fountain, who immigrated from Cincinnati, Ohio. He laid out the town near the present railroad junction, called Cincinnati. The locality is now known as California Junction.
Clay, constituted between 1856-60, comprises township 79, range 45 and range 46, was named in honor of Henry Clay, the great American statesman.
Douglas township, constituted in 1868, comprises township 80, range 41, and was named for Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, who was a candidate against Abraham Lincoln for president of the United States in 1860.
Harrison, constituted in 1856, comprising township 81, range 41, was named for the county of which it is a sub-division, and primarily for Gen. William Henry Harrison.
Jackson, constituted prior to 1860, and probably about 1858, comprises township 81, range 44, and three sections of township 80, was named in honor of (“Old Hickory”) Andrew Jackson, of New Orleans fame.
Jefferson, constituted in 1854, comprises township 79, range 42, and part of range 43, and derives its name from President Jefferson.
La Grange, constituted prior to 1855, now comprises township 78, range 43.
Lincoln, constituted in 1868, comprises township 81, range 42, and derives its name from that of our lamented President Abraham Lincoln.
Little Sioux, constituted in 1854, comprises township 81, range 45, and was named Little Sioux river flowing through its domain.
Magnolia, constituted in 1853, comprises township 80, range 43, and derives its name from the county seat, as first located in this county, which the fourth general assembly named “Magnolia.” It is primarily from the sweet-scented flower of the Gulf States.
Morgan, constituted in 1867, which comprises part of township 80, range 45, and part of range 44, township 80, was named for Morgan county, Ohio, from which section of the Buckeye state, Captain John Noyes emigrated as a settler to this Iowa county.
Raglan, constituted in 1857, comprises township 80, range 44, and was named by Captain John A. Danielson, for Lord Raglan, of Crimean War fame, who was then at the height of his glory.
St. John township constituted in 1856, comprises township 78, range 44.
Taylor, constituted in 1861, comprises township 79, range 44, except section 24, section 25, and section 36, and was named for old General Zachary Taylor.
Union, constituted in 1858, now comprises township 78, range 42. It was named by “Uncle Sammy” Wood, the first settler, on account of his great friendship for his neighbors. Unity was his thought, doubt-less.
Washington, constituted in 1872, and comprising township 78, range 41, was named in honor of the “Father of His Country”—George Washington.
There have been no changes in the form and size of civil townships in Harrison county since 1872, when Allen township was taken from Magnolia township, which now lies to its south. For a matter of ready reference it will be well to insert a list, when constituted and the congressional township and government range in which the twenty subdivisions of Harrison county are situated, which is a follows:
Allen, constituted 1872, township 81, range 43.
Boyer, constituted before 1857, in township 80, range 42
Calhoun, constituted before 1857, in township 79, range 43
Cass, constituted in 1856-60, in township 79, range 41.
Cincinnati, constituted 1856-60, in township 78, range 45.
Clay, constituted 1856-60, in township 79, range 45.
Douglas, constituted 1868, in township 80, range 41, taken from Boyer.
Harrison, constituted 1856-60, in township 81, range 41.
Jackson, constituted 1856-60, in township 81, range 44.
Jefferson, constituted before 1855, in township 70, range 42.
La Grange, constituted before 1855, township 78, range 43
Lincoln, constituted 1868, in township 81, range 42, taken from Boyer.
Little Sioux, constituted before 1855, in township 81, range 45.
Magnolia, constituted before 1853, in township 80, range 43.
Morgan, constituted before 1870, in township 80, range 45, taken from Raglan.
Raglan, constituted before 1857, in township 80, range 44.n township 78, range 44.
St. John, constituted before 1860, in township 78, range 44.
Taylor, constituted 1861, in township 79, range 44.
Union, constituted before 1859, in township 79, range 42.
Washington, constituted 1872, in township 78, range 41, taken from Union.
Transcribed and contributed by Alvin Poole, Nov. 18, 2018.
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