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Harrison County Iowa Genealogy

Taylor Township
excerpts from the 1891 Harrison County History

All of Congressional Township 79, range 44, except sections 25 and 36, constitute what is now called Taylor Township. It was organized in 1861 and named in remembrance of old "Zach" Taylor, so well known to readers of American history. It is bounded as follows: Morgan and Raglan Townships are on its north, Magnolia and Calhoun on the east, St. John's and Cincinnati on the south, with Clay in the west. It contains 21,120 acres of land, the greater portion of which is prairie.

The Soldier River flows through sections 5,7 and 8. Two large swamps or marshes are found in the northern part of the township. About one-half of Brown's Grove is located in the estern sections.

The Sioux City & Pacific Railroad passes through the western tier of sections, with a station point on section 30, called Modale (petitioned with the name Missouri Dale).

The population in 1885 was 786, while the 1890 U.S. Census placed it at 719.


In the year 1853 Robert HALL effected settlement in this township, locating on section 1. The following year came J.C. WILLS, and S.J. OAKS.

At this time game was very plentiful. Pioneer WILLS told how he counted 45 deer at one time and wild turkeys in untold thousands.

Upon the organization of the township in 1861, the first officers were: J.W. MCINTOSH, Supervisor; James MATHEWS, Justice of the Peace; and James S. KELLEY, town clerk.

At an early day, and even up to 1870, the farmers in this part of the county claimed a larger yield of wheat and oats than their neighbors on the high uplands. The average yield per acre in 1866 was wheat, 25 to 35 bushels, and oats from 90 to 100 bushels.

Only one incident of trouble with the Indians is noted in talking with pioneers in this township. The Omaha Indians became very troublesome, as they pilfered much and in other ways annoyed the whites. After parleying with them for some time and one Indian shot, they concluded to leave the whites alone, but the whites, flushed with recent victory, followed on after them. After decoying the pale faces 10 miles from home the red-skins turned on them, and as a result the settlers beat a hasty retreat homeward. Thus ended the Indian warfare in Taylor Township!

The following gives the names and date of settlement for the earlier part of the history of the township.

Following the settlers above mentioned came:
Isaace K. TEETER, to section 2, in the fall of 1855 and bought 40 acres from a mulatto named Charles VAN. He also purchased some swamp land on section 11. He moved from Jefferson County in the spring of 1856 and lived in his wagon a month, while he could get time to build him a house.
J. WILLS located on section 8, in 1854. He came from Illinois and reared a large family. He was a soldier in the Civil War and died in 1884.
About war times came David PENROD from Indiana. He located on section 7, where he still resides. Daniel PENROD came from Ohio about the same time and took land on section 8, and still lives on the same.
Daniel BRYAN came from Ohio after the war, locating on section 8.
John THOMPSON came from Indiana in 1853 and settled in Magnolia Township. He was absent from the county from 1855 to 1862, at which time he located on his present farm on section 13. He served as a Union soldier during the late war.
Ed BURK was among the earliest in Taylor Township. About 1880 he removed to Missouri Valley. He settled on section 8.
It seems quite likely that Isaac PERJUE was the second man to settle in this township. He came in 1853.
James BIRD, a native of the Emerald Isle, came in prior to the Rebellion and settled section 11. He was in the Union army, came home and married Elizabeth KARNES.
David D. LOCKLING made his settlement in the county in 1857, located on section 16, Taylor, in 1859. He is now living in Cedar County, MO., while his son, Sherman, operates his farm in Taylor Township, Harrison County.
Fred SCHWERTLY came in prior to the Rebellion and bought land on section 10. He now lives in Calhoun Township.
Benjamin MARTIN and his son B.F., came in the spring of 1857; they settled on section 30. The father was run over and killed by a Sioux City & Pacific Railway train 1876. It was he who platted 'Martinsville', now better known as Modale. The son B.F. now resides at Modale. Another son, Reuben A., is a prosperous merchant at Modale.
In the spring of 1860 J.S. LIGHTELL came from Pottawattamie County to Taylor Township. He now lives at Modale. His first settlement was on section 31.
H.O. BEEBE came in 1859 and rented in Magnolia and in 1861 commenced improving his place in Taylor. He is still a resident. He served in the Union ranks in the time of the Civil War. The log house in which they lived until 1884 he moved from Cincinnati Township and is still standing.

Among those who came to Taylor Township sbsequent to the Civil War, may be named these:
W.H. McQUEEN, who settled on section 9, in the spring of 1865. He purchased two hundred acres of bottom land. He moved to the village of Modale in 1885 and engaged in general merchandising. His farm is now under control of his sons J.L. and W.H. McQUEEN.
Alva W. BROWN settled on section 29, in the spring of 1866. He first bought a quarter section of wild land, to which he added much more. He ran a hotel at Modale awhile and still lives there.
John McCRILLIS settled at the village of Calhoun in 1869 and in 1871 bought wild land on section 28, of Taylor Township, where he now has a half section.
Fred DEMON effected settlement on section 9, in 1867, and is still a resident.
In 1870 came Amos MORROW. He died in the '80s and his widow married Joseph DEPEW.
F.W. MYERS of section 13, came first in 1859, went to the Black Hills and in the spring of 1871 purchased his present farm.
Asa COLE made a settlement on section 16, 1867. He is now deceased and his farm belongs to H.H. LOCKLING.
Elihu PHILLIPS came about 1870, to section 12. At the time of his death in 1880, he owned many hundred acres of land.
Another who came in 1870 was Fred SCOTT, of section 17. He died about 1880. His sons run the farm.
L.G. RILEY settled on section 17 in 1865. He sold and now lives at Missouri Valley.
Mathias RAGER came to section 18, in 1862. He sold to A.E. OCKERSON, moved to Atlantic, Iowa, and there died. Mr. OCKERSON became a resident in the spring of 1881.
A settler of section 19, in 1866, was S.G. SPACKLEN who still remains on the same land.
Patrick KIRLIN came about war times to section 20, where he still lives. His brother Michael came in 1866.
Josiah TUFLEY came to Clay Township in 1858 and ten years later removed to section 20, of Taylor. He removed to Modale a few years ago where he is leading a retired life.
H.B. BROUGHTON settled on section 20, in 1866 and is still a resident there.
Michael HALEY came in the '70s, made a success on section 30, and is now retired at Missouri Valley.
Jacob HAMMMER came in at the close of the war and bought land on section 30, where he still lives.
Alonzo BEEBE settled on section 31, about 1868. He is still a well-to-do farmer of that section.
Alexander HILLIS came to section 1 after the war. He now lives at Magnolia.
John G. NELSON was a settler who found his way to section 4, and there has a fine home. He came after the Rebellion closed which was in the autumn of 1865.
A part of section 8 was settled on by Charles WRIGHT in 1865. He is a native of Sweden. He and his family still reside where they first settled.
Theodore MAHONEY, son of a pioneer Stephen MAHONEY, came to the county in 1852 with his parents. The farm he now lives upon he purchased in January, 1871. His farm house is one of the best in Harrison County.
Solomon HESTER came in about 1869 locating on section 9.
Samuel MOORE who came to the county in September, 1856, first settled in Magnolia where he resided until he located in Taylor Township, after the war, purchasing lands in 1864.
F.M. CAYWOOD settled on a part of section 9, in 1866. He is still a resident of the same place.
John KARNES and family located on section 9, in 1866. He died and his son Bernard now operates the place.
John O'CONNOR, deceased, came to Harrison County in the spring of 1869 settling on section 10, Taylor Township where he became a prosperous farmer.
J.H. OLMSTEAD dates his settlement from the spring of 1872, settling in Clay Twp. He afterward left the county, but soon returned and in the spring of 1888 purchased the farm he now occupies.
J.S. MCDONALD first located in Clay Twp in 1875 and worked at a sawmill. In 1887 he purchased part of his present farm.
Daniel P. MINTUM has been a resident of Harrison County since January, 1874. He purchased the land he now(1891) occupies in 1881.
James B. KELLEY, physician, surgeon and druggist, at Modale, came to the county in 1888.

Many of the above settlers have personal sketches within the biographical department of this work. These memoirs relate to many things in detail, concerning the first settlement and the hardships co-incident therewith.


A village was platted on sections 2 and 11, about 1860, by a firm in the East, styled Baker & Co. It was called "Melrose" but for good reasons it never amounted to anything. It was one of the many early day "paper towns" and was gotten up for a big swindle.

Fine maps and charts were produced and several men from the East, came on to sell their newly purchased town lots, in the "charming village of Melrose," but alas they found them not! It was represented by the maps that the place was a steamboat landing and had already several hundred people. It was the case where one "Yankee" was trying and in some cases succeeded in swindling a brother Yankee. The land where the 'supposed' village stood is now within the A. MORROW estate.


About 1859 the first school-house was erected. It stood on section 2, at what was the (supposed) village plat of Melrose. The next school building was erected on section 31. Much care has been the rule in keeping up the school system in Taylor Township. As the country has been settled up, new buildings have been erected here and there. At this time there are four school-houses outside of village schools. The enrollment is about 125.

The above school-house, on section 31, stood on Job Ross' land and the first teacher was Miss HILLIS, who afterward was sent as a missionary to Ceylon, where she died in 1889.

Church services were held at the house of Job ROSS, prior to the building of the cottonwood schoolhouse and afterward this was used as a meeting house. The pioneer preacher was Rev. Mr. TARKINGTON -- then came Rev. Mr. COON, a Baptist clergyman, who was then a Salt Lake Mormon. He afterward took his wife and family to Utah and subsequently married another wife and reared a family by her.


In 1867, William WAKEFIELD built a flour mill on the Soldier River, on what is now Theodore MAHONEY's farm. It was propelled by the waters of the Soldier River. It was 30x40 feet, three stories high and had three run of burrs, which ground out an excellent quality of flour. It was patronized from far and near. Even settlers as far north as Woodbury County came here to the mill.

In 1872, Theodore MAHONEY bought the plant and operated it until 1887, when it was sold and closed. It was bought -- (i.e. the water-power site) by farmers, who owned land near by, on account of the water from the mill-pond overflowing their lands.

MODALE (Missouri Dale)

This is now an incorporated town. It is located on section 30-79-44 and is a station on the line of the Sioux City & Pacific Railway, in the southwestern part of Taylor Township.

In 1870, Bemjamin MARTIN platted a village at this point known as "Martinsville," but in March, 1874, Alonzo BEEBEE and Hannah BEEBEE platted land adjoining it and named it from a post-office which had been established a decade or more previous to that date, known as Modale. The old post-office had been kept at the house of Stephen HESTER. Its name came through an accident. In sending to the department a petition for the office, the petitioners desired it to be named 'Missouri Dale', but as they abbreviated it thus "Mo. Dale," and the clerks at Washington, took it to mean Modale -- hence the name.


In 1857, a post-office was established through the efforts of Thomas A. DENNIS and others, the same being called Modale. The first postmaster was Stephen HESTER, who lived in section 22, of Clay Township. He was succeeded by John SHARPNACK and he in turn by Job ROSS, of section 25, of Clay Township. B.F. MARTIN was next to hold the office; then J.J. ANDERSON, C.J. CUTLER, William SHARPNACK, and the present incumbent, W.W. MORTON.

It was first kept at what is now the village of Modale by J.J. ANDERSON and was made a money order office, August 1, 1882. The first order issued was August 7, 1882 to F.H. LUDWIG, for 75 cents payable to E.L. MARRIHEW, Los Angeles, Cal. The first order paid was to Mrs. Elizabeth CUTLER for $3. The number of money orders issued to November 1, 1891 was 5,283; number of postal notes to the same date, 3,948. F.H. LUDWIG also purchased the first postal note at Modale.


Modale became an incorporated town, in April, 1881, by a vote of 26 to 16. The following have served as Mayors: 1881-Job ROSS, 1882-W.A. SHARPNACK, 1883-W.M. SHARPNACK, 1884-C.J. CUTLER, 1885-Benjamin MORROW, 1886-C.J. CUTLER, 1887-W.H. MCQUEEN, 1888-A.W. BROWN, 1889-D.W. WOLF, 1890-D.W. WOLF, 1891-M.C. SCHRODER.


About 1867, a Methodist Episcopal class was formed which held services at the Penrod schoolhouse. The first leader was W.W. MORTON. In 1875, this class was transferred to Modale and services were held at the school building, until what is known as the Union church building was erected, about 1876, after which they worshiped in that until 1890, during which year a frame church edifice was built at a cost of $1,400 and on a lot given by Job ROSS.

A Roman Catholic Church was formed at Modale in the 70's and in 1883, a neat frame church was built at a cost of $1,000. The society has no resident pastor but has quite regular services. The church numbers are 50 souls.

A Christian (or "Campbellite") church was formed in the autumn of 1860 by Rev. William A. DENTON from Nebraska, in Clay Twp, at the house of Josiah TUFFLEY and Jesse WILLS and wife.

In 1863, the society was re-organized by Rev. John SNYDER; the members thus forming the re-organized body were: Aaron THOMPSON and wife, J TUFFLEY and wife, Jacob FREDERICK and wife, and George MURPHY and wife. Meetings were soon held in the Ross schoolhouse and later on, in the Bush schoolhouse. The society then removed its place of worship to Modale and there occupied a school building until 1875, when the Union church building was erected. The pastors have been from abroad except John SNYDER and Joel PALMER. The present membership is 63.


At first, a small frame building was erected for school purposes at Modale. This served until 1880, when the present fine, two-story and two-room building was erected at a cost of $1,600. The lot upon which it stands, was donated by pioneer Benjamin MARTIN, proprietor of the town site "Martinsville" (Modale).


The first to engage in business at this point was F.H. LUDWIG, who, in 1874, opened a warehouse on the east side of the track. The same fall, 1874, MCALLISTER & MARTIN put in a general stock of merchandise on the west side of the track. The first to engage on the handling of grain, lumber and agricultural goods was F.H. LUDWIG.

The pioneer hotel man was J.J. ANDERSON, who really kept a boarding house. The "Ogden" was the first building erected for hotel purposes.

The first to deal in drugs were MORTON & WEST. The first to engage in livery business was Samuel BROWNRIGG. George STEBBINS was first in the harness business, and as blacksmith, H.B. BROUGHTON.

About 1884 two grain elevators were built at Modale -- one by W.A. SHARPNACK & Co., and one by LUDWIG and SHARPNACK. The former was burned in a few years. The present elevator had a feed mill in connection with it until the present year. It has changed into a "roller process" flouring mill. It is the property of F.H. LUDWIG and its capacity is 50 barrels per day.
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