Benton Township History
The township lies in the southwest corner of the county, contains all of congressional township 74 north, 13 west, and the greater part of five sections in 75 north, 13 west. It is well watered, and, with the exception of two other townships, Lancaster and German, contains more well cultivated and well improved land than any other township in the county. This township was settled as soon as was allowed by the stipulations of the treaty of 1842, D. P. Helm, J. W. Palmer, Tinley Brooks and Messrs. Hellery, McCoy, Brown, Cheek and Trimble being the first settlers. That portion of the township bordering upon the South Skunk, and extending southward, is broken and brushy; many years ago it received the name of “Crackers’ Neck,” by which it is still known. In 1850 it had a population of 435; in 1856 it was 850, and in 1875 the population was 1,109. At the same time there were reported 220 dwellings and 224 families in the township. There are few, if any, houses of worship in the township; what religious service there is being held in school-houses, and here those who believe in going to church attend, or else go to adjoining townships. The schools were early established, and are considered among the best in the county.

            There are two post-offices, one at the northern part of the township called Slagle, and Butler, located in section 27. Benton township has no towns at present, although it at one time did boast of one bearing the pretentious name of West London. It was located on section 18, and was laid out in 1847, the town plat being recorded in October of that year. The proposed line of the Ottumwa & Cedar Rapids Railway lies through this township, and the citizens are hopeful that it will be built within a few months. Quite a number of the more influential people are now using their best endeavors to further this enterprise. As the road-bed and many of the bridges have already been completed, it is not all probable that the people of the productive country will long suffer in their material interests for lack of communication with the outside world; and when this is accomplished Benton township will have a town of its own, and a business town, too, for is had the men and the capital.

            The present township officers are as follows:

                        Justices of the Peace—Lewis Pfeffer and John Mack

                        Constable—M N Alderman and R G Wilcox

                        Clerk—James L Reinhart

                        Trustees—Lewis Reinhart, Miles Abraham and C Lentz

                        Assessor—Clara Cook

 

 

Reference: The History of Keokuk County, IA, 1880

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