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Harrison County Iowa Genealogy

Washington Township
excerpts from the 1891 Harrison County History

Washington, constituted in 1872, was so called in honor of the "Father of his country." It comprises Congressional Township 78, range 41 and is the southest corner township of the county. On it north we find Cass Twp and Shelby County; on the east is Shelby County; on the south is Pottawattamie County and on the west is Union Township.

Mosquito, Spring and Keg Creeks, together with their various branches and feeders provide excellent drainage, and a supply of pure living water, for both domestic and stock purposes. About the only native timber in the township is that on the south line, known as Walker's Grove.

The population of Washington Twp, including villages, in 1885, was 593. The federal census compiled in 1890, gives it 1,222, including Persia and Yorkshire. The people of this portion of the county have been fortunate, within the past few years in the securing of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, which traverses the township from north to south, with station villages -- one in the northern part called Persia and one in the south, called Yorkshire.


Hugh WALKER was the first man to come to this township and commence the work of home building. He came in 1849 and settled at the beautiful native grove now bearing his name.

In 1853, came Isaac M. ATKINS, whose biographical sketch appears in this work. He rented land near Little Sioux until 1854 and then moved to Pottawattamie County, coming to Washington Twp in 1880 and settling on section 17. John W. KIRKPATRICK, of section 5, came to the county in 1858 and located on the first land in the market and on section 18.

Orson H. STOKER, of section 32, came in December, 1863, from Pott. County, Iowa. In January, 1864, he bought land on section 32, but went away and remained until the spring of 1868 and then located where he now lives, having a half section of excellent land in the home farm and 682 acres in all. William SPEARS came from Pott. County in 1864 and located at Walker's Grove, on section 32. After a few years, he sold and now(1891) lives in the village of Neola. William A. GRAYBILL, of section 32, came to the county in March, 1864 and is still a resident farmer. Andrew J. GRAYBILL, of the same section, came in 1865 and lived with his brother until 1878 and then bought on section 32.

Charles H. and Samuel H. LYTLE came in 1866 and still remain. Thomas HODGES came in 1867 and now lives in Woodbury County. Lucian WILSON became a settler on section 16, in the spring of 1867. He entered 160 acres and went through all the early-day hardships. David CHAMBERS settled in 1869 and first went to 40 acres of wild land, but now owns 432 acres of well-improved land. It was Mr. CHAMBERS who named the Township. William CHAMBERS also came in 1869 and settled on a part of section 5 and now owns 150 acres.

Joseph SEDDON came in the fall of 1870 and located on a quarter section of section 4, where he remained until 1884 and then embarked in merchantile business at Persia. He is today(1891) the leading business man of the place. John CHAPMAN settled in Union Twp in 1870, remained until 1876, sold out and moved to Missouri. In July, 1880, he settled on section 4.

Jonathan MCKEE, Sr. and family came from Pott. County in 1872 and located on section 5 and in 1889 removed to Union Twp. John KILMER settled on section 10 in 1872, remained until 1886 and removed to Woodbury County. Milton KILMER came from Bellevue, NE in 1873 and located on section 33. Charles HOWARD, of section 29, came in the spring of 1874, but had purchased a half section of land in August, 1871. William D. BULLARD came in the fall of 1875 and located on section 4. John PAUL came in March, 1876, to section 24 and bought 80 acres. Lemuel E. OSBORN of section 26 came to the county in 1876 and now has 120 acres.

James T. HADLEY came in the spring of 1876, located on section 13, and bought 360 acres of wild land. He is now one of the most thoroughly prosperous men of the township. Edward DUNN, of section 23, came in the spring of 1878; he had been in the township in 1875 and purchased wild land, and now has 280 acres. Dr. C.B. COLM came in the fall of 1886 and engaged in the practice of medicine and bought the drug business of F.M. GARDNER at Persia.

Francis KERN settled in 1881 on section 25. Andrew D. WALKER located on section 3 in February, 1880. Adam C. SNYDER came in 1880 locating on sections 3 and 10, removing to Persia in 1889. H.W. CHAPMAN, a dry-goods merchant at Persia, came to the county with his parents in 1865.

In December, 1876, Edward C. CAMPBELL came to the county. Paul MOWRY came from Shelby County in 1882. Albert WILSON, G.A. Albertus and William REED also came that year. Mr. WILSON rented at first, having bought a piece of wild land. Mr. ALBERTUS engaged in the lumber, grain and coal trade. He now deals exclusively in grain. Mr. REED engaged in blacksmithing.


The first school in Washington Township was taught at Walker's Grove, at a private house, where five terms were taught in all. Then a regular school building was erected. The first to teach therein was Clara HEDGES, who was followed in order by Julia TUCK, Florence DALLY, Sarah MCLAUGHLIN and Carrie EVANS.

According to Supt. DAKAN's last annual report, Washington Twp had enrollment of 258 scholars and possessed eight good schoolhouses valued at $3,000. This of course, does not include the schools at the village of Persia, where there are 155 pupils. Of the Persia schools it may be said that scarcely had the village been platted, before the subject of public schools began to agitate the minds of the new comers. In 1884 a commodious school building was erected at an expense of $2,000. None but the best instructors have been employed.

The patrons of the school and citizens generally, may well boast of good schools. In 1888 there were 120 pupils enrolled and the cost of supporting the schools for that year was $1,360.


Yorkshire is situated along the line of the Chicago, St. Paul & Milwaukee railway, on section 28-78-41. It was platted June 8, 1882, by the railroad company. Another platting, the present town site, was platted May 16, 1887, by Edward HOWARD on section 29-78-41.

The first attempt at business at this point was when James ABBOTT and W.B. WOOD, in the fall prior to laying out the town, built a store. A part of that building is now(1891) occupied by I.B. ATKINS as a hardware store, combined with groceries. The firm was WOOD & ABBOTT. WOOD finally bought ABBOTT out, ran the business two to three years, and sold to Eli VICKERY and a year later he sold to ATKINS.

The 2nd business venture in the hamlet was a blacksmith shop, in the autumn of 1884. It was operated by Orin DENSMORE for six months and sold to E.C. COPELAND who still fans his glowing forge at the same stand.

In the summer of 1886 a store was built by Charles and Fred EGGERS. They carried a general stock, operated about one year and closed out the stock and rented the storebuilding to DEUPREE & ATKINS, who bought the property in 1889. In the early autumn of 1884 a lumber and grain office was opened by H.C. VANDUZER who operated a year and quit the business.

The first grain warehouse was erected by farmers in the fall of 1885. This was conducted until the end of the third year when the property was bought by C. D. DILLIN of Neola, who used the same until it was blown down during a heavy wind storm in June, 1890. REMINGTON Bros. of Neola, erected a grain warehouse at Yorkshire in the summer of 1887. The railroad company erected an elevator at this point in the spring of 1888, the same now being operated by the REMINGTON Bros. A second elevator was built in the fall of 1890 by the St. Paul & Kansas City Grain Company.

The pioneer saloon (beer) was started full blast in the summer of 1886, by John DOLAN, who conducted it two years, when the building was torn down. John DAHLHEIMER opened a saloon in the fall of 1890, ran the "shebang" six months and quit.

The post-office at Yorkshire was established in 1884 with James ABBOTT post- master. Messrs. WOOD, DEUPREE, VICKERY, and ATKINS have held the office in the above given.


Persia, one of the last places to be platted in Harrison County, was surveyed out and recorded by L.C. and Alice BALDWIN, June 6, 1882, on parts of section 4 and 9, of township 78, range 41. In the summer of 1881, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad was built through Washington Township, going nearly north and south through the territory. This village is on the Mosquito Creek and in the center of a magnificent farming belt.

The first to engage in business here was John MCWILLIAMS, who opened a grocery store in the winter of 1881-82, his building being the second in town. Carl PEDERSON had the honor of building the first, a blacksmith shop, in 1881.

The first store referred to stood on the corner of Main and Second Streets, and is now occupied by William A. SMITH as a grocery store. The next building was a hotel on Main St. built in March, 1882, by George A. COURTWRIGHT, and still serves as a hotel, the Allee House. Following the hotel came the hardware store of Melvin MATSON.


Several attempts at journalism have been made at Persia, but until the Persia Globe was established by George E. FERGUSON, in September, 1890, none were successful. Mr. FERGUSON, though young in years, is a creditable local journalist and a good writer. He publishes a neat, live, local sheet in the interests of all good citizens, with the view of upbuilding his town and surrounding country. His circulation extends into several counties.

Ths Bank of Persia was established by W.U. COCHRANE in the summer of 1882. It was operated by him until 1885 when B.F. FREEMAN succeeded him. L.W. PEASLEY succeeded him and January, 1891, sold to J.W. DAVIS.

The post-office at this point was established in 1881 with M. MATSON as pioneer postmaster. He served until December 1885, and was then succeeded by James LANG. In July, 1891, he was followed by C. A. BRACE. It was a Money Order office in July, 1884. The first postal note was issued July 25, 1884. Total money orders issued up to July, 1891, was $4,140; number of postal notes issued 3,551.

An office called "Nephi" was established about 1878 with David CHAMBERS as postmaster. It was on section 4; mail was carried from Woodbine. It paid Mr. CHAMBERS $13 a year! It was soon discontinued.


Craftsman Lodge, No, 490, of the masonic order, was instituted at Persia in June, 1887, with the following charter membership: A.C. SNYDER, W.S. BROWNRIGG, P. PELTON, W.H. MONTEITH, J.C. HASZARD, P.G. ALLENBAUGH, C.E. DEWELL, F.M. SPRINKLE, M. MATSON, H.W. CHAPMAN, M. DOWDY, B.N. WALKER, M.B. WILMOT, Riley BIRKS, C.B. MCCOLM, and Samuel STRAUSS.

The present membership is 38. The lodge uses the Odd Fellow's hall under a lease.


April 9, 1891, Persia became an incorporated town. B.S. TUPPER was elected Mayor, and George F. FERGUSON, Recorder. The Trustees of the incorporation are: William CHAPMAN, George GARNER, William BECKER, Ed. COLLINS, Joseph SEDDON, C.V. RATEKIN and Mark PECKENPAUGH. The Street Commissioner is Isaac HANER, and the Treasurer M.A. GAMBLE.


The Methodist Church at Persia was organized in 1884 and belongs to the Harris Grove and Persia Circuit. A church edifice was erected in 1885 at a cost of $1,000. At first services were held at the Latter Day Saint's Church. A good parsonage was provided in 1889 costing about $1,500. The present membership of the church is 35. The following have served as pastors of this church: Revs. LINN, TERRELL, FISK, HARVEY, HOFF, PALMER and WILSON.

The Spring Creek Branch of the re-organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was formed October 19, 1876, with the following membership: David CHAMBERS,Sr., David CHAMBERS,Jr., Mary CHAMBERS, Jonathan MCKEE,Sr., Martha MCKEE, Thomas and Elizabeth and Martha and Jonathan MCKEE, and Sarah FRY.

The Presidents who have served are: William CHAMBERS, David CHAMBERS, and Joseph SEDDON. The present membership is 108. A neat frame church was erected in 1885 costing $1,600. It seats comfortably 300 persons. It was dedicated by Rev. Joseph SMITH.


The first school here was taught in a room over a store building in 1883 by Mrs. W.J. BROWNRIGG. In 1884 a schoolhouse was erected at a cost of $2,000. It is a two-story, two department frame building. Prof. C.L. CROW was the first to teach in this building.


A township cemetery is located on section 15. The first to be laid at rest within these grounds was Mrs. Joseph GUMP, who died in the autumn of 1883.
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