Warren Township History
This township corresponds in the main with congressional township No 75 north 13 west. South Skunk, which forms the southern boundary, cuts off about five sections, which for municipal purposes are attached to Benton. North Skunk runs diagonally across the township, thus dividing it into two water-sheds. The natural drainage is excellent; the supply of timber, stone, coal and water is abundant. So diversified are the natural resources of this region that it has always been considered one of the favorite spots of Keokuk county. Originally it was a part of what is now Washington township, and together with it formed what for a long time was known as Cedar Creek Precinct. The first settlement was made on the 3rd of May, 1843, by A J McNabb and T J Hicklin—the former on section 2, and the latter on section 3. McNabb plowed the first furrow in the township and planted potatoes. Four days after, Maxon Randall took a claim and settled near the same place; he plowed the second piece of ground which was broken in that part of the county. McNabb and Randall were very successful in their farming operations, and by sticking to their first claims, by industry and economy, have become among the wealthiest citizens of the county. McNabb still resides on his original claim; Randall remained on his claim till a short time since, when he disposed of his extensive domain and removed to Sigourney, where he now resides. T J Hicklin also was still found on his original claim after a lapse of thirty-three years. John Hasty and several others settled in Warren township in the spring of 1843. In 1844 Jacob Kinsler began to build the first saw and grist-mill, on North Skunk, west of range 12. The township was surveyed in 1845, and in 1846 the land was offered for sale. At that time most of the land was claimed, and the entire amount of money in the township was about one thousand dollars. At the first sale of lands were ten pierces of eighty acres each sold.

The first couple married were Robert Munn and Susan Pence. The license was procured at Washington, Keokuk county at that time being a part of Washington, and John Ellis, justice of the peace, pronounced the ceremony. This marriage was soon followed by three or four more in quick succession. Mr Thomas J Hicklin was chosen to be the father of the first child born in the township. Squire Ellis, who for many years after the organization of the county was the law giver if Cedar Creek precinct, had his seat of justice at Springfield, now in Washington township; and after Warren township became a municipality separate from Washington, Squire Keith became the Lycurgus of these regions. Already, in 1845, the pioneers of Warren had a school-house; and Rev Mr Tannehill, who expounded the gospel on Sundays, here wielded the birch and expounded Murray during the week. Mr Tannehill organized a Baptist church in 1844, Squire Keith and family being among the first members.

A Frenchman, who lived in the McNabb neighborhood in early days, while out hunting discovered coal, which afterward proved to be the outcroppings of extensive deposits, which are how being mined by Mr Dunn, of Delta. As the report goes, the Frenchman after discovering the coal, went after a shovel, and returning, covered up all signs of the coal, hoping to be able in a few years to purchase the claim. But before he accumulated enough money to buy the claim, he was prostrated on his death bed, and just before dying revealed the facts of his discovery to a friend. However, his description was not definite enough, and the concealed treasure could not be found. The land where the coal was concealed was the northwest quarter of section thirteen, and northeast quarter of section fourteen. This and finally became to property of Maxon Randall, and was regarded by him as a very good sheep pasture, and from appearances probably contained some good building stone. Wishing to quarry some stone to be used in the foundation of a barn, he accompanied some others to the identical place where the opening to the coal mine now is, and probably the same place where the opening of the coal mine now is, and probably where the Frenchman had used his shovel a quarter of a century before. After digging for some time and finding no stone, Mr Randall went elsewhere for his building stone, and a few years afterward sold the land to J A Dunn. It may be remarked here that Mr Randall, while prospecting for stone, came so near the coal that had he gone one foot further he would have come upon it. Mr Dunn became owner of the ground in 1872, and in 1875 discovered the coal. The vein is from four to six feet deep; the mine is very extensively operated, and with the excellent railroad communication, since the extensive of the Knoxville branch of the C, R I & P railroad, promises to be the leading industrial feature of the county. The banks are located about one mile south of Delta, and the coal is at present conveyed to the latter place in wagons, no side-track having as yet been constructed to the mine.

In 1850, the population of Warren township was 287; in 1856 it was 394; and in 1875 it was 707. At that time there were 144 dwellings and 148 families.

The following are the present officers of the township:

                        Justices of the Peace—Reuben Kinder and Abel Hawkins

                        Constables—Hiram Alsop and J H Keister

                        Clerk—E C Hewitt

                        Trustees—A J McNabb, Horace Brainard and Abner Utterback

                        Assessor—J B Jacobs

Reference: History of Keokuk County, Iowa, 1880

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