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Harrison County Iowa Genealogy

Cass Township
excerpts from the 1891 Harrison County History

Congressional Township 79, Range 41, constitutes the civil township of Cass. It was named after the noted Michigan statesman, Lewis Cass. This subdivision of the county was organized prior to 1857. It is located on the east line of Harrison County, with Shelby county on the east, Union and Washington Townships on the south, and Jefferson to the west. Cass is directly south of Douglas Township. It has an area of beautiful rolling prairie land amounting to 23,040 acres.

Pigeon and Spring Creeks, together with a dozen more small branches, make up the streams of the township. It is purely an agricultural section and as such is very valuable. The only native timber is found in the western part, chiefly in Six-mile Grove.

As yet there are no villages within this township. The population in 1885 was 444, but the 1890 federal census places it at 840.


Beyond question Uriah HAWKINS was the first white man to lay claim on land in Cass Township. He came to these parts with his family, a wife and five children, July 10, 1847, and "claimed" land on section 20, where he made his home and remained the balance of his days; he died in September, 1869.

In 1850, and up to 1853, quite a respectable addition was made to the settlement in Cass Township by the advent of Rev. Kirtland CARD, Samuel DUNGAN, Edward HOUGHTON and the BROONER family. They all made claims and at once set about making homes for themselves.

In May, 1854 came Martin KIBLER and family from Virginia. He located at Six-mile Grove, entering 200 acres of land on sections 17 and 21. They lived in a humble cabin until 1861, then built a frame house. About 1854 came Samuel DUNGAN and settled on land now owned by N.D. Barnes. All was then wild and new. Indians roamed about and game was found on every hand. He and his father followed prairie breaking for seven summers. In1860 the father gave him land on section 7, which in 1868 was traded for land on section 16.

Among the earliest pioneers in Cass may be named Isaac ELLISON, who came with a family of five sons and five daughters from Counicl Bluffs in December,1853. They were numbered among the Mormon band who went to Council Bluffs (then known as Kanesville) in 1850, and who left that sect on account of polygamy and became separate supporters of the Re-organized Latter Day Saints Church. He settled on section 17.

Another early settler included Asher SERVIS in 1854, who it is claimed and believed was among the first, if not the first, to produce apples in Harrison County soil. He brought with him the "John Richard" stock of horses and settled on section 18, in Six-mile Grove.

In the month of June, 1851, came Edward HOUGHTON. Jonathan H. GREEN came to Harrison County in 1855, lived in Shelby County for a time and returned in the spring of 1856. Lindley M EVANS came to the county in 1854 and settled in Cass, section 33 in 1856. Alonzo R HUNT came to Cass Township from New York State in the spring of 1849 and remained until 1857. Judge Stephen KING located on section 18 in May, 1852, purchasing a claim from an old pioneer who had been on the place since 1849.

Other settlers included Xavier ALECK in 1856, the GAVITT family in 1865, John R CASE in 1854, John STRAUSS in 1860, Ephraim STRAUSS in 1861, Thomas CHAPMAN in 1864, Nathan D BARNES in 1866, and Adam CONRAD in 1867.


Among the first pieces of prairie land broken in the township was one on section 18, now owned ny N.D. BARNES. It was done by Henry and Lewis BARNEY, who in 1849 went to Salt Lake City, selling their land to Judge Stephen KING. The next land broken was that turned by Uriah HAWKINS in 1848.

The first house built was one erected in the summer of 1847 or 1848 by the BARNEY boys. They lived in tents while putting in their crops. Uriah HAWKINS was the next to build a house. This was in the fall of 1847, it is believed.

The first school was taught by Judge KING in the winter of 1852-53. It was at an old log cabin which had been used for a dwelling by William JOLLY and was built in 1848-49. Probably the first birth was Uriah HAWKINS,Jr., who was born August 25, 1849.

It is believed the first death in Cass Township was an infant child of Rev. Kirtland CARD. It was a girl baby and she was buried on what is now N.D. BARNES farm and later removed to Whitesboro burying ground.

The first man to marry (who was a resident of Cass Township at the time of his marriage) was Alonzo HUNT, who came to the county in 1849. He settled in Cass Township on section 18, and was married at Union Grove, Union Township. Edward HOUGHTON married Mary ELLISON April 6, 1856.


Methodist services were held at the old log school house on section 17, in 1857, Rev. Kirtland CARD being the minister, assisted by Rev. M. TARKINGTON, who was also Judge of Shelby county at an early age.

In 1888 the Christian denomination organized a society in Cass Township. Services are held at the Six-mile Grove scholl house. Rev. James MARLAN is the present pastor.


Early in the eighties a post-office was secure at the east side of Six-Mile Grove, known as Needmore, so named by reason of a circumstance which would be improper to relate in this work. Upon the building up of the towns along the Milwaukee Railroad, this office was abandoned. A general store was put in at this point, and John D DOW removed a steam saw mill from Reeder's Mills to this point. The store is now operated by Ed COWAN. A wagon and blacksmith shop is conducted by David CHRISTIAN.

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