|On January 10, 1840,
Governor Lucas approved an act of the Territorial
Legislature providing for the division of the several organized
counties of Iowa into civil townships. Pursuant to the provisions of
this act, the county commissioners of Lee County, at their regular
session in January, 1 841 , divided the county into ten townships, to
wit : Ambrosia, Denmark, Franklin, Green Bay, Harrison, Jackson,
Jefferson, Van Buren, Washington and West Point. Ambrosia Township has
disappeared, the territory once comprising it being now included in the
townships of Montrose and Des Moines. Changes have been made in the
original boundaries of some of the first townships and new ones have
been erected until at the present time there are sixteen civil
townships, viz. : Cedar, Charleston, Denmark, Des Moines, Franklin,
Green Bay, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Marion, Montrose,
Pleasant Ridge, Van Buren, Washington and West Point.
This township occupies the northwest corner of the county. It was
originally a part of Harrison Township, but in the spring of 1844 a
petition was circulated throughout the northern half of that township
asking the county commissioners to erect a new one. In response to that
petition the board, on July 3, 1844, issued an order that "All that
portion of Harrison Township included in Congressional Township 69
north, of range 7 west, be set off as a separate township, to be
hereafter known and designated by the name of Cedar Township." It was
also ordered that the first election in the township be held at the
house of Charles Brewington on the first Monday in April, 1845. The
judges at that election were Andrew Dye, Isaac McDaniel and William
Mottley; the clerks, John C. Atlee and Ephraim Allen, but the returns
of the election and the names of the first township officers then
chosen can not be found.
The first white settlements in the township were made in the year 1836.
It is not certain just who was the first settler, but the honor is
claimed for Isaac McDaniel, a North Carolinian, who came from his
native state and located in that part of Lee County, where he continued
to live for more than forty years. He was soon joined by Nathaniel
Anderson, William and Benjamin Warren and Paul Brat- ton, all from
Illinois. Perry McDaniel, a son of Isaac, was the first white child
born in the township and the second was a daughter of Nathaniel
Anderson. The first marriage to be solemnized was that of Ephraim Allen
and Aylsie Rowland. George Holt and Jane Warren were united in marriage
a little later. Nathaniel Anderson died in 1834 — the first death to
occur in what is now Cedar Township.
In 1837 a log schoolhouse was erected by the settlers in section 6,
near the northwest corner of the county, and the first school was
taught there in the fall of that year by a man named Hall. In that year
the government survey was completed through that part of the county and
the settlers secured the title to their lands in the fall of the
succeeding year at the land sale in Burlington.
The first church building was erected by the settlers, without regard
to denominational affiliations, in 1843. It was a log house and stood
near the schoolhouse erected in 1837. The Baptists were the first to
use the building, though religious services had been held in the homes
of some of the pioneers some time before the house of worship was built.
Cedar Township is six miles square, embracing Congressional Township 69
north, range 7 west. It is bounded on the north by Henry County; on the
east by Marion Township; on the south by Harrison, from which it was
taken, and on the west by the County of Van Buren. Its area is
thirty-six square miles, or 22,040 acres, nearly all of which is
capable of being cultivated.
In the auditor's report of the financial condition of Lee County for
the year 19 13 the value of taxable property in Cedar Township is given
as $625,639, the highest of any township in the county, except Madison
and Jackson, which include the cities of Fort Madison and Keokuk, and
higher than these if the two cities mentioned be excluded. The township
has a little over ten miles of railroad, and nearly seventy miles of
telephone lines. It is divided into ten school districts, in which
fourteen teachers are employed. The ten school- houses are valued at
about one thousand each, exclusive of the ground upon which they stand,
and the enrollment for the year ending June 30, 1 91 4, was 171.
The officers of Cedar Township, elected in 1912, were as follows: Peter
Mertens, A. E. Dick and R. S. Pease, trustees; A. B. DeRosear, clerk;
R. E. Bell, assessor; A. H. Heaton, justice of the peace; Allan H.
Heaton and Fred Smith, constables. According to the United States
census for 1910 the population of the township was then 863, and Cedar
enjoys the distinction of being the only township in the county to show
a gain over the census of 1900.
On January 2, 1844, the board of county commissioners issued and
entered upon the records the following order: "That portion of
Jefferson and Van Buren townships lying in Township 67 north, range 6
west, be stricken off and form a new township, which shall be known by
the name of Charleston Township." It was also ordered that the first
election should be held at the house of R. B. Robinson on the first
Monday in the succeeding April, but the returns of that election seem
to have disappeared.
As established by the above order, Charleston Township includes all of
the Congressional Township 67 of range 6, and has an area of thirty-six
square miles. It is bounded on the north by Franklin Township; on the
east by Jefferson; on the south by Des Moines, and on the west by Van
Buren. Sugar Creek flows through the western part and Jack Creek
through the eastern part, the latter rising near the Town of
Charleston. Along the streams the land was originally well timbered,
the central portion being chiefly prairie. Through this prairie now
runs the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant Division of the Chicago,
Burlington & Quincy Railroad, upon which New Boston and Charleston
The first white settlements within the limits of Charleston Township
were made in 1834, when Thomas McGuire, William Kilgore, David Coon,
George Moore, John Robinson, Robert Grewell, and perhaps one or two
other families located in the Sugar Creek Valley. William Simmons was
the first white child born in the township. At the time the first
settlers came the half-breed tract, which includes the greater portion
of Charleston Township, had just been placed on the market, under an
act of Congress approved on January 30, 1834. It was not long, however,
until litigation over titles to the land arose, and this retarded the
settlement of all the southern portion of Lee County. This is the main
reason doubtless why the Township oi Charleston was not erected and
organized until some years after the establishment of the first civil
townships in the county.
According to the county auditor's report for the year 1913, Charleston
Township had at that time five school districts, with an enrollment of
156 pupils, five teachers employed and five school- houses, the
estimated value of which was $4,700. There were eight miles of railroad
and about seventy-five miles of telephone line, and the taxable
property of the township was assessed at $397,920. The population in
1910, as reported by the United States census, was 786.
Jacob Hopp, Fred Heiser and Charles Klingler were the trustees in 1914;
J. H. Vermazen, clerk; J. G. Renz, assessor; H. G. Kirchner and D. A.
Hancock, justices of the peace, and W. C. Pickard, constable.
Denmark was one of the original ten townships established by the county
commissioners in January, 1 841 , and the first election was ordered to
be held at the house of L. L. Thurston. At that election, which was
held on the first Monday in April, 1841, Daniel Newton and James N.
Hamilton were chosen justices of the peace, and John G. Field and
Thomas M. Clark, constables. These were the only officers elected.
This township is situated in the northeastern part of the county and
embraces that portion of Congressional Township 69, range 4, lying
south of the Skunk River. It is bounded on the north by the Skunk
River, which separates it from Des Moines County; on the east by the
Township of Green Bay; on the south by Washington, and on the west by
Pleasant Ridge. Its area is about twenty-four square miles.
Some of the earliest settlements in Lee County were made within the
present limits of Denmark Township. As early as the spring of 1833 John
M. Forrest located on section 25, near the present Village of South
Augusta. He was a native of Tennessee, a surveyor by profession, and
came to Iowa with the expectation of assisting in the survey of the
lands of the Black Hawk Purchase. In 1837 he sold his claim and removed
John O. Smith, who is credited with being the second settler, came in
March, 1835. His experience in getting located and providing shelter
for his family shows the hardships to which the pioneers of Lee County
were sometimes subjected. Mr. Smith was a native of North Carolina, but
was living in Hancock County, Illinois, when the Black Hawk Purchase
was opened to settlement. Hearing flattering reports of the country he
started upon a tour of investigation, selected a claim about a mile
east of the present Town of Denmark, cut logs for a cabin and then
returned to Illinois for his family and team to haul the logs to the
place he had selected for his dwelling. With his wife and child he set
out with an ox team and wagon, taking what he supposed would be
sufficient corn to feed the team while the cabin logs were being
hauled, but he encountered so many delays that the corn was all gone
before they reached their new home on April i, 1835. As there was no
feed to be had west of the Mississippi, Mr. Smith sent his oxen back,
split rails and built a pen, which he covered with clapboards, and this
was his first dwelling place in Iowa. The cracks in the pen were
covered with quilts, blankets, etc., and in this rude shelter the
family lived for nearly two months before a better house could be
provided. Mr. Smith afterward became one of the prosperous and
influential citizens of that part of the county and was for a time the
postmaster at Denmark.
The next settlers, of which there is any authentic account, were Joshua
Owen and Isaac Briggs, relatives of John O. Smith, who came some time
in the summer of 1835 and settled on Lost Creek. Briggs soon afterward
removed to Washington Township and Owen was the first sheriff of Lee
In 1836 Timothy Fox, Curtis Shedd and Lewis Epps came with their
families and settled where the Town of Denmark now stands. A little
later they were joined by William Brown, of Massachusetts, and the four
men laid off the Town of Denmark a year or two later, Other early
settlers were Samuel Briggs, David Tibbetts, Carroll Payne, John Wren,
Silas Gregg and Barzilla Mothershead. The first death was that of a man
named Pedigo, who settled near the Skunk River, his death occurring in
the fall of 1835. A son of John O. Smith died in August, 1837, and a
funeral sermon was preached by Rev. Micajah Rowland, the first sermon
of that nature in Denmark Township.
The first school was taught in 1837 by a man named Williams. The
schoolhouse was a log cabin on the farm of David Tibbetts. At the close
of the school year of 1913-14, the county superintendent of public
schools reported five schoolhouses in Denmark Township, valued at
$4,300, exclusive of the ground. There were nine teachers: employed at
salaries ranging from forty to eighty-five dollars per month, and 180
pupils were enrolled in the five districts.
Denmark is the only township in Lee County without a railroad. Sawyer
is the most convenient railroad station for the people living in the
western part, and Wever for those living in the eastern part. The
township has about twenty-five miles of telephone lines and the value
of taxables for the year 1913 was $235,717. In 1910 the population was
674. The officers for 19 14 were: J. P. Klopfenstein, C. E. Lewis and
Harry Houston, trustees; Joseph A. Maxwell, clerk; T. H. Burton,
assessor; F. P. Whitmarsh, justice of the peace.
Des Moines Township
As stated in the opening paragraph of this chapter, Des Moines Township
was originally a part of the Township of Ambrosia, which was one of the
original ten ordered by the board of county commis- sioners in January,
1841. At the first election in Ambrosia Township, on the first Monday
in April, 1 841 , Cyrus Peck and Moses Martin were elected justices of
the peace, and William W. Willis and Samuel Smith, constables. These
men were still in office when, on August 4, 1842, the commissioners
ordered that "the Township of Ambrosia shall hereafter be known as Des
This township is situated in the southern part of the county and
includes that part of Congressional Township 66, range 6, lying in the
State of Iowa. It is bounded on the north by Charleston Town- ship ; on
the east by Montrose ; on the south by Jackson ; on the south- west by
the Des Moines River, which separates it from the State of Missouri,
and on the west by the Township of Van Buren. Its area is about
thirty-three square miles, or 21,120 acres.
The first settlers in Des Moines Township came in 1836. Among them were
Charles Stearns, James and William Allen, William and Robert Mix, John
Billips, Johnson Meek and Samuel Hearn. Mary Billips, who was born on
March 23, 1837, was the first white child born in the township. The
first marriage was that of Robert Meek and Mary Ann Allen, in 1838.
Samuel Hearn settled near the state line and established a ferry across
the Des Moines River. "Hearn's Ferry" was a favorite place for holding
meetings in early days. At the first election for officers of Lee
County, in 1837, Mr. Hearn was elected one of the commissioners of
highways and his residence was one of the voting places. John Billips
and Johnson Meek were judges at that election.
Des Moines Township is well supplied with transportation facilities.
Along the southern border runs the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific,
through the villages of Vincennes and Hinsdale, while the Atchison,
Topeka & Santa Fe runs from northeast to southwest across the
northern portion, via Argyle, and crosses the Des Moines River not far
from Hinsdale. Altogether, the township has a little over nine miles of
railway. Telephone service extends to all parts of the township, there
being about fifty-five miles of telephone lines.
According to the county superintendent's report for the year ending on
June 30, 19 14, there were then six school districts in Des Moines
Township, the six schoolhouses being valued at $4,600 — a very low
estimate. Seven teachers were employed during the preceding school
year, at salaries varying from forty to sixty dollars per month, and
139 pupils were enrolled in the schools.
The value of the taxable property in 1 913 was $574,700 and the
population in 1910 was 799. The officers of the township for 1914 were
as follows: F. J. Brodsky, L. Meister and J. W. Sunden, trus- tees;
John Cruze, clerk; Vandale Marsh, assessor; Gust Peterson, justice of
the peace; Frank Roush, constable.
Franklin was one of the first ten townships, authorized by the board of
commissioners in January, 1841, and the first election was ordered to
be held in the Town of Franklin on the first Monday in the following
April. At that election John Gandy and Jesse H. Catting were chosen
justices of the peace ; James McVey and Andrew Sample, constables, no
other officer being elected.
The township is situated in the central part of the county, embracing
Congressional Township 68, range 6, and has an area of thirty- six
square miles. It is bounded on the north by Marion Township; on the
east by West Point; on the south by Charleston, and on the west by
Harrison. The Government survey was made in 1 836-37 and the settlers
obtained patents for their lands in 1838. Charles B. and Edley McVey,
Alexander Cruickshank, George Perkins and Miles Driscoll were among the
first settlers. Edley McVey and Miles Driscoll settled near the present
Village of Dover, but subsequently removed to Jefferson County. In 1836
Henry and Jacob Abel, Germans, located claims near Franklin.
The first schoolhouse was built on the Cruickshank farm in 1839 and a
term of school was taught in that year by a man named Turner. At the
close of the school year in 19 14 there were five schoolhouses in the
township, five teachers were employed and the number of pupils enrolled
In 1842 the Methodists built a church at Franklin — or Franklin Centre,
as it was then called — the first house of worship to be erected in the
Franklin is well supplied with transportation facilities. The
Burlington & Carrollton division of the Chicago, Burlington &
Quincy Railroad runs east and west across the southern portion, through
South Franklin and Donnellson. At Donnellson it is crossed by the
Keokuk & Mount Pleasant division of the same system, which runs
north and south. The township also has over fifty miles of telephone
In 1 913 the taxable property of the township was assessed at $535,270.
The officers then were as follows: Peter Lang, Jacob Frueh and A. T.
Cruikshank, trustees; August Fey, clerk; J. P. Galli, assessor; J. G.
Krehbiel, justice of the peace; John Gibson, constable. The population
in icjiowas 1,290.
Green Bay Township
This township is the most eastern in the county. It was erected as one
of the first ten civil townships in 1841, but the boundaries between
Green Bay and Denmark were readjusted in January, 1843. On the north it
is bounded by the Skunk River, which separates it from Des Moines
County; on the east and south by the Mississippi River, which separates
it from the State of Illinois; and on the west by the townships of
Denmark and Washington. Its area is about thirty square miles,
embracing all that part of Congressional townships 68 and 69, of range
3, lying in Lee County. The soil is a deep, black loam, very fertile,
though some parts of the township are so low that the land has to be
protected by levees. It is one of the leading agricultural townships of
the county. In the southern part is the body of water called Green Bay,
about four miles long and one-fourth of a mile in width. Lost Creek
flows in a southeasterly direction across the township and empties into
The first white settlements in Green Bay Township were made in 1835 by
William Saucer and the Smalls. Thomas Small was elected one of the
thirteen constables of Lee County in March, 1838. William Franklin came
to the township in the spring of 1837, and the population was soon
afterward increased by the arrival of Joel Smith, J. C. Poole, John
Haynes, William Lucas and the McCowen family. William Saucer was a
member of the first petit jury impaneled after Iowa Territory was
organized in 1838. It is said that the name "Green Bay" was suggested
by William Lucas when the township was created in January, 1841.
The Burlington & St. Louis division of the Chicago, Burlington
& Quincy Railroad runs through this township, and the stations of
Wever and Wescott are located within its limits. There are about five
and one-half miles of railroad track and forty miles of telephone lines
in the township, which is divided into five school districts, in which
163 pupils were enrolled during the school year of 1913-14. According
to the county auditor's report for the year ending on December 31,
1913, the value of the taxable property of Green Bay was $338,995, and
the United States census for 1910 reported a population of 744.
When the township was first erected in 1841, it was ordered by the
board of county commissioners that the first election should be held at
the house of Wesley Hughes on the first Monday in April. At that time
James D. Gedney and John Pomeroy were elected justices of the peace,
and Enoch Morgan and Ephraim B. Hughes, constables. The officers of the
township in 19 14 were: Horace E. Hyter, H. E. Lange and Fred Schulte,
trustees; Fred O. Tucker, clerk; E. H. Liddle, assessor; William
Harrison Township, one of the original ten created in January, 1 841,
is situated in the western part of the county, and as at first
established it included the present township of Cedar. It was named for
Gen. William H. Harrison, who was elected President of the United
States in 1840. It now embraces Congressional Township 68, range 7, and
therefore has an area of thirty-six square miles. It is bounded on the
north by Cedar Township; on the east by Franklin; on the south by Van
Buren, and on the west by Van Buren County. Sugar Creek rises near Big
Mound, in the northwestern part, and flows diagonally across the
township toward the southeast. There are also some smaller streams.
Along the watercourses the land was originally covered with a growth of
timber, but the greater portion of the township is composed of prairie.
James and William Howard are credited with having been the first white
settlers in what is now Harrison Township. They came there before the
Government survey was made and staked out their claims in the Sugar
Creek Valley. A little later Isaac Renfrew and his brother located near
the Howards. Isaac Beller, Stephen Perkins and his son, George, and the
Lorey and Schweer families were also early settlers. Exum S. and D. T.
McCullough, the former from Tennessee and the latter from South
Carolina, came in 1836. E. S. McCullough became one of the active and
influential citizens of Lee County. He served in both branches of the
State Legislature, and was otherwise identified with public affairs.
His death occurred in 1876. Melinda Schweer was the first white child
to be born in the town- ship, Joseph Lorey and Cyrus Howard being born
a little later. The first death was that of a Mr. Stewart.
In 1837 tne Government survey was completed in the township and the
pioneers purchased and received patents for their lands between that
time and 1840. The first school was taught in the "Howard Settlement,"
about 1838, but the name of the teacher appears to have been forgotten.
In 1914 there were six school districts in the township, in which seven
teachers were employed and 172 pupils were enrolled.
Across the southern portion runs the Burlington & Carrollton
division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway System, about
six miles of track lying within the township. Warren is the principal
ralroad station. Harrison also has about fifty-five miles of telephone
lines. The value of the taxable property in 1913 was $488,858, and in
1910 the United States census reported a population of 614.
The first election in Harrison Township was held at the house of Jesse
Johnson on the first Monday in April, 1841. Stephen H. Graves and Henry
Dye were elected justices of the peace, and William L. Graves and R. P.
King, constables. Stephen H. Graves was elected one of the first
assessors of property in Lee County, in April, 1837, an d in March,
1838, was chosen one of the first board of county commissioners. The
officers of the township for 1914 were as follows: L. H. Schweer, John
Bargar and Joseph Kelly, trustees; William C. Smith, clerk; E. J.
Warson, assessor; Joseph Carver and S. R. Hampton, justices of the
peace, and Fred C. Winters, constable.
This township occupies the extreme southern part of the county, in the
triangle lying between the Mississippi and Des Moines rivers. It is one
of the ten townships erected by the board of county com- missioners in
January, 1 841 , and includes Congressional Township 65, range 5,
except such portions as are cut off by the river boundaries, and a
little of the eastern part of township 65, range 6. Its area is about
thirty-eight square miles. On the north it is bounded by the townships
of Montrose and Des Moines; on the east and southeast by the
Mississippi River, which separates it from the State of Illi- nois; on
the south by the Des Moines River, which separates it from Missouri,
and on the west by the township of Des Moines.
The first habitation built by a white man in Jackson Township was the
log cabin erected by Dr. Samuel Muir in 1820, within the limits of the
present City of Keokuk. Much of the early history of the township will
be found in the chapter on the City of Keokuk, where the first settlers
located. In the extreme northeast corner of the township is the little
Village of Sandusky, where Lemoliese, the French trader, established
his trading post in 1820. Owing to the fact that Jackson lies within
the limits of the old half-breed tract, where titles to the lands were
a subject of litigation for so many years, settlers were somewhat slow
in coming in and forming permanent settlements. The first township
election was held in the Town of Keokuk on the first Monday in April,
1841, when Alexander Kerr and L. B. Fleak were elected justices of the
peace, and Leroy P. Gray and Emery Jones, constables. In 1914 the
officers of the township (outside of the City of Keokuk) were: Henry
Thieme, A. H. Linnenberger and Henry Peters, trustees; Will D. Turner,
clerk; Luman Van Ausdall, assessor. In the city, John Leindecker and
James S. Burrows were township justices in 1914, and Austin Hollowell
and Henry Reichmann held the office of constable.
The township was named for Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the
United States. It is well supplied with railroads. The Burlington &
St. Louis division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy system runs
along the Mississippi River; the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant division
of the same system runs northward from Keokuk through the central
portion; the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific runs along the southern
border, and Keokuk is the terminal city for divisions of the Wabash and
the Toledo, Peoria & Western railroads. Altogether there are nearly
seventeen miles of track in the township, which has over sixty miles of
telephone lines, so that facilities for transportation and
communication are unsurpassed by any township in the county.
Outside of the City of Keokuk, the value of the taxable property in
1913 was $499,927. The nine school districts in that part of the
township employed ten teachers and enrolled 273 pupils during the
school year of 1913-14, and the estimated value of the schoolhouses was
$11,000. The population in 1910, exclusive of the city, was 1,438.
Jefferson Township is one of the original ten townships erected by
order of the county commissioners in January, 1841. As originally
established it included the present Township of Charleston. It is
bounded on the north by the Township of West Point; on the east by
Madison and the Mississippi River, which separates it from Illinois; on
the south by Montrose Township, and on the west by Charleston. Its area
is about thirty-three square miles.
The pioneer settler in Jefferson Township was William Skinner, who came
to Lee County in the spring of 1834 and soon afterward selected a tract
of land on Sugar Creek, in section 5, for which he afterward obtained a
patent from the Government. Mr. Skinner was born in Franklin County,
Pennsylvania, in 1795. In 1816 he married there and soon afterward
removed to Cincinnati, Ohio, where his wife died, leaving three
children. In 1830 he married Elenora Ferre and in the spring of 1834
came to Fort Edwards (now Warsaw), Illinois, making the trip by
steamboat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi. After a residence of
about two weeks at Fort Edwards, he decided to "try his luck" in the
Black Hawk Purchase. Securing two canoes, he lashed them together and
with this homely craft brought his family and effects across the river
at the foot of the rapids. His first residence in Iowa was the frame
shanty that had been erected by Moses Stillwell on the side of the hill
at Keokuk, but which was then unoccupied.
About that time Lieutenant Crosman came up from St. Louis and began
work on the buildings of Fort Des Moines, where the Town of Montrose is
now situated. Mr. Skinner was employed to make 20,000 clapboards for
roofing the barracks and other buildings, for which he was paid $20 per
thousand. After this contract was completed he was employed to
superintend the erection of the log houses for the military quarters,
because not one of Lieutenant Crosman's men knew enough about
"mechanics" to erect a plain log cabin. For this work Mr. Skinner
received a salary of $60 per month in "real money," as he afterward
expressed it. He also assisted in cutting grass and laying in a supply
of hay for the horses of the dragoons, and later built a residence for
Colonel Kearney, the first commandant of the fort. With the money
received from the Government for this work he paid for his land.
In December, 1834, he removed his family to his claim on Sugar Creek.
As he had been engaged by the Government practically all summer and
fall, he had not erected a cabin on the land selected some months
before. The family therefore took possession of a small hut that had
been built by Chief Black Hawk during the sugar making season. This
hut, the walls of which were of small poles and the roof of bark, stood
on the east bank of the creek, not far from the present railroad
bridge. Subsequently Mr. Skinner erected a cabin of his own on the west
side of the creek — the first habitation of civilized man within the
present borders of Jefferson Township.
Hugh Wilson was the second white man to establish a claim in the
township, coming a little while after Mr. Skinner and locating in the
Sugar Creek Valley. A man named Baker came a little later and in 1838
Mr. Skinner sold his first claim to Henry Applegate and bought Baker's
place, the latter going on farther west.
Concerning early conditions in Jefferson Township, William Skinner some
years afterward said: "People hadn't much time for amusement or social
intercourse. They were too busy making rails, building fences, cutting
and hauling logs to build cabins, etc., to fool away their time hunting
after anything that did not promise to add to their hopes of an easier
day in the years to come. The settlers were always friendly and
frequently visited each other, and while the men indulged in the
discussion of such themes as interested them, the women knitted, talked
and smoked, for in those days it was not considered unladylike for
women to smoke. In fact, smoking was more commonly indulged in by the
women than by the men. People lived plain and didn't put on any style
then. They made no attempt at display, and when some of the young
people concluded to leave the old folks and set up for themselves, they
did not receive much of a 'setting out.' Brides didn't receive presents
then as they do now. Some who had nothing but a single suit of clothes
each when they were married settled right down to hard work and
economy, and in a few years were well to do. Young people married for
love then and worked to earn homes."
Among the early couples to get married were Thomas McGuire and a Miss
McCullough. Mr. Skinner told how he happened to pass McGuire's cabin
soon after the young couple went to housekeeping and stopped for a
brief visit, "just to see how they were getting along." He found
McGuire and his wife seated on the puncheon floor before the fireplace,
eating mush and milk out of an iron pot that stood between them. Each
had an iron spoon and a tin cup, but were without either chairs or
table. Such cases were not uncommon back in the '30s, yet the men who
lived after this fashion were the ones who laid the foundations of Lee
County's subsequent prosperity.
The first election in Jefferson Township was held at the house of Cyrus
Peck on the first Monday in April, 1841. Arthur Hafferty and Gershom
Dawks were elected justices of the peace, and Daniel Dodson and William
Grimes, constables. The township officers in 1914 were: Thomas Wilson,
George Haeffner and George Smith, trustees; J. M. Kudebeh, clerk; Z. T.
Lyon, assessor; August Burg- dorf, justice of the peace.
The first school was taught in the Skinner neighborhood in 1837.- In
1914 the county superintendent reported seven school districts,, in
which 1 18 pupils were enrolled during the preceding school term.. The
seven schoolhouses were estimated by him to be worth $4,600,. exclusive
of the grounds, and the teachers received salaries varying, from
thirty-five to fifty-five dollars per month.
Jefferson Township has more miles of railroad and more miles: of
telephone lines than any other township in the county— nearly eighteen
of the former and over seventy-five of the latter. The St. Louis &
Burlington Division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway
System runs north from Keokuk to Viele, where it turns east. At Viele
it forms a junction with the Burlington & Carrollton Divi- sion of
the same system, and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe also crosses
the township. In 19 13 the value of the taxable property was $605,003,
and the population in 1910 was 607.
What is now Madison Township was originally a part of the Township of
Washington. The records of the County Commissioners' Court for April,
1841, contain the following entry: "Ordered. by the board that
fractional township sixty-seven (67), range four (4), be, and the same
is hereby, set off into a separate township, for the purpose of
carrying into effect an act entitled 'An act to provide for the
organization of townships, 1 approved January 10, 1840; and it is
further ordered that said township shall be known by the name of
Madison Township. The first meeting of the electors of said township
shall be at the Washington House, in the Town of Fort Madison, on the
first day of May next."
The name was adopted from Fort Madison, and indirectly for James
Madison, who was President of the United States from 1809 to 1817. For
some reason the election was changed from the first day of May to the
first Monday in that month, which fell on the third. John A. Drake and
William F. Nelson were elected justices of the peace, and Isaac R. Rose
and John D. Williams, constables. In 1 9 14 the justices were Joseph S.
Buckler and Joseph A. Nunn, and the constables were C. H. Perry and
William F. Kumleh.
Madison Township is situated on the eastern border of the county. It is
bounded on the north by Washington, from which it was taken; on the
east and south by the Mississippi River, and on the west by the
Township of Jefferson. Its area is about seven square miles, prac-
tically all of which is included within the corporate limits of the
City of Fort Madison. Much of the early history of the township is
therefore included in the chapter relating to Fort Madison, where a
majority of the first settlers located. Among those who settled in the
township outside of the town were Dr. Campbell Gilmer, near the
northwest corner; James Billiard, two miles west of the site of the old
military post; John G. Schwartz, Michael Seyb and Harmon Dingman,
Germans, who came from the Fatherland in the latter '30s and settled at
Fort Madison or in the immediate vicinity. John G. Kennedy and Peter
Miller were also pioneers of this township, the former coming from
Tennessee and the latter from Maryland. Peter Miller was the second
mayor of Fort Madison after the town was incorporated. He likewise
served as county commissioner, treasurer and sheriff at different times.
In the reports of the county auditor, county superintendent and the
United States Census Bureau, Madison Township and the City of Fort
Madison are treated as the same jurisdiction. From the first of these
reports it is learned that the taxable property was valued at
$1,034,248 in 1913; that there were then about eleven miles of railroad
in the township, and forty-six miles of telephone lines. The report of
the county superintendent shows forty-one teachers employed in the
public schools, 1,198 pupils enrolled, and five school buildings valued
At the April session of the county commissioners in 1841, it was
ordered that congressional township 69, range 6, be cut off from
Franklin Township and erected into a separate township, to be known as
Marion. As thus established, and as it has since remained, the township
includes the congressional township described in the order and contains
an area of thirty-six square miles. It is situated north- west of the
center of the county; is bounded on the north by the County of Henry;
on the east by Pleasant Ridge Township; on the south by Franklin, and
on the west by Cedar. Sugar Creek and some of its tributaries flow in a
southeasterly direction across the township, affording good natural
drainage and water for live stock, etc. Along these streams the surface
was originally covered with a growth of timber, some of which is still
standing, but the most valuable trees have long since been cut down and
manufactured into lumber.
It is believed that the first white settler in what is now Marion
Township was Alexander Cruickshank, who selected a tract of land in
what afterward became the Clay Grove Settlement. He had formerly
located in Pleasant Ridge Township, where he cleared a piece of ground
and raised a crop of corn in 1834, and in the fall of that year changed
his residence to Marion. His son, James Cruickshank, was the first
white child born in the township. His birth occurred on May 7, 1835.
Several settlers came into the township in 1835. Among them was Samuel
Paschal, a native of Tennessee, but who removed to Illinois in 1825,
and who remained a resident of the township for nearly half a century
before his death. A man named May started with his family from
Illinois, but died before reaching the Black Hawk Purchase. His widow
and children came on and located in Marion, where one son, William M.
May, became a successful farmer. James and Elias Overton, Solomon
Jackson, Luke Alphin and Joseph Carmack all settled in the Clay Grove
neighborhood before the close of the year 1836.
In that year the government survey was made in the township by Captain
Parks, of Michigan, who was employed as a government surveyor for
twenty years or more, and the settlers soon afterward obtained their
titles to the lands they had selected. Another pioneer was Lindsey
Ware, who selected and cleared a farm in the Clay Grove Settlement. His
daughter,- Anna, was married to Zedekiah Cleve- land in the winter of
1836 — the first wedding ever solemnized within the limits of what is
now Marion Township.
The first store was opened at Clay Grove by a man named Harlan ; the
first school was taught by a man named Turner, in a log cabin on the
farm of George Taylor, in the summer of 1839; the first death was that
of Lindsey Ware's wife, in August, 1838. Her body was buried upon her
husband's farm, but some thirty years later was removed to a cemetery.
The first regular schoolhouse was built of round logs on Mr.
Cruickshank's farm in the fall of 1839. In 1914 there were nine school
districts in the township, but during the preceding school year only
six teachers were employed and the enrollment was only sixty- three
pupils, many of the children attending the parochial schools.
At the time the township was created, in April, 1841, the commissioners
ordered that the first election should be held at the house of John
Taylor on the third Wednesday of the following May. No returns of that
election can be found. The officers for 1914 were as follows: John W.
Raid, Isidor Link and George Hinrichs, trustees; George Hellman, clerk;
August Peitzmeier, assessor; John Mittendorf, justice of the peace, and
Joseph Fritzjunker, constable.
Marion has about seven and a half miles of railroad; fifty-five miles
of telephone lines, and taxable property in 1913 valued at $587,199.
The one line of railroad is the Fort Madison & Ottumwa Division of
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway System, which enters the
township from the east near the southeast corner and runs northwest up
the Sugar Creek Valley. The population in 19 10 was 746.
This is one of the townships bordering on the Mississippi River. It is
situated in the southern part of the county; is bounded on the north by
the Township of Jefferson; on the east by the Mississippi River, which
separates it from the State of Illinois; on the south by Jackson
Township, and on the west by Des Moines Township. It was created by the
county commissioners on July 8, 1841, by the division of Ambrosia
Township, and includes the fractional congressional township 66, of
range 4, having an area of about thirty-two square miles.
Montrose enjoys the distinction of being the site of the first
settlement made by a white man within the present limits of Lee County.
In 1795 Louis Honore Tesson (sometimes written Louis Tesson Honore)
received a grant of land one league square (nine square miles), at such
point as he might select, on or near the Mississippi River and within
the Province of Louisiana. The grant was issued by Zenon Trudeau, the
lieutenant-governor of Upper Louisiana, and was sanctioned by Baron de
Carondelet, the Spanish governor-general at New Orleans. By the terms
of the grant Tesson was required to plant trees, cultivate the soil,
instruct the Indians in agriculture, and endeavor to convert them to
the Catholic faith.
Tesson selected his claim at the head of the Des Moines Rapids of the
Mississippi River, where the Town of Montrose now stands, built a house
and surrounded it with a picket, planted a garden and set out about one
hundred fruit trees — chiefly apples. He also established a trading
post and brought his family to the new grant, where he lived for
several years. Through his commercial operations he became indebted to
some St. Louis parties, and on March 27, 1803, his property at the head
of the rapids was sold at public auction to Joseph Robidoux, one of his
creditors, for $150. Robidoux died a few years later and left
instructions for his executor, Pierre Choteau, to sell all his real and
personal property and divide the proceeds equally among his legal
heirs. Pursuant to the will of Robidoux and his last instructions to
his executor, the Tesson grant was again sold at auction in 1809 and
was bought by Thomas F. Riddick for $64.
In the meantime the Province of Louisiana had passed from Spain to
France and had been' purchased from the latter nation by the United
States. Under the various treaties by which these transfers were made,
the Federal Government agreed to recognize the validity of certain land
grants made by the Spanish authorities, one of which was the Tesson
grant on the Mississippi. The question came before Congress and a
commission of three members was appointed to inquire into and report
upon the character of the claim and the legality of the title. This
commission made a report in favor of confirming the grant, but
Frederick Bates, then recorder in the United States land office at
Little Rock, Arkansas, declined to issue a settlement right to more
than one square mile of the original one league square, his reason
being that the Indian title to the lands had not yet been relinquished
to the United States. His action was subsequently confirmed by the
federal authorities, and on February 7, 1839, President Van Buren
issued a patent for 640 acres to the heirs of Thomas F. Riddick. This
patent was recorded in Lee County on March 30, 1839.
Concerning the old orchard planted by Tesson, it has been stated that
the trees were carried from St. Charles, Missouri, on the back of a
mule. When the first white settlers came to Nauvoo, Illinois, just
across the Mississippi, they would sometimes cross the river to gather
apples. In 1834 Lieutenant Crosman established Fort Des Moines upon or
near the site of the Tesson Settlement. James C. Parrott, who was a
member of Crosman's command and afterward postmaster at Keokuk, in
speaking of the conditions at the time the fort was built, said: "We
saw many traces of a former settlement around the camp, the most
prominent of which was the old orchard of apple trees a short distance
below. The orchard at that time contained some ten or fifteen trees in
bearing condition. The fruit was very ordinary, being a common
seedling. The Indians were in the habit of visiting the orchard and
gathering the fruit in its green state, so that none of it, to my
knowledge, ever came to perfection. There were also some sage bushes
growing in the prairie to the rear of the camp; and there were also
remains of dirt or adobe chimneys visible in the same locality; which
goes to prove that a settlement had existed there at some former
In 1874, through the influence of Daniel F. Miller, one of Lee County's
leading attorneys, the Tesson "Old Orchard Block" was conveyed by
George B. Dennison and wife to the mayor and board of aldermen of the
Town of Montrose, to be held in trust for the Old Settlers' Association
of Lee County as one of the historic points of the county, thus
preserving for all time the recollections of the first white man's
establishment in Southeastern Iowa.
After Tesson, the next white man to locate in what is now Montrose
Township was Maurice Blondeau, who established a trading post about
half way between the present villages of Galland and Sandusky. He has
been described as "a jolly, good Frenchman, weighing considerably over
two hundred pounds, and a great favorite with the Indians."
In 1829 Dr. Isaac Galland located about three miles below Montrose,
where the Village of Galland is now situated. Here he was joined the
following year by Samuel Brierly, William P. Smith and Isaac R.
Campbell. In 1832 Capt. James W. White took possesssion of at least a
part of the old Tesson grant, built a log house and planted a small
field of corn. When Fort Des Moines was established two years later,
the Government purchased his claim and the house was used as the first
hospital for the post. Late in 1834 Stephen H. Burtis built a log house
about a mile and a half below the fort. He was elected a member of the
first board of countv commissioners in March, 1838. From that time the
settlement of Montrose Township went steadily forward. The title to the
lands of the Black Hawk Purchase had become fully vested in the United
States on June 1, 1833, and the proximity of Fort Des Moines offered
protection to the settlers until it was abandoned in 1837.
The first school in the township — which was also the first in Iowa —
was taught at Galland in 1830 by Berryman Jennings, who afterward went
to Oregon and became a millionaire. The report of the county
superintendent for the year ending on June 30, 1914, gives seven school
districts, which employ eight teachers, exclusive of the five employed
in the Town of Montrose, with an enrollment of 185 pupils in the
township and 219 in the town.
Montrose is well supplied with facilities for transportation. Along the
eastern border runs the Mississippi River and following its course is
the St. Louis & Burlington Division of the Chicago, Burlington
& Quincy Railway System, which passes through the Village of
Galland and the Town of Montrose. Farther west is the Keokuk &
Mount Pleasant Division of the same system, which passes through the
Village of Mount Clara. These lines provide ample shipping
opportunities for all parts of the township. Alto- gether the township
has about fifteen miles of railroad and seventy miles of telephone
lines give communication with all the surrounding country.
In the order establishing Montrose Township, in July, 1841, it was also
ordered that the first election should be held at the Town of Montrose,
but no returns of that election are available. The officers of the
township in 1914 were: E. B. Crane, John Orth and C. F. Fruehling,
trustees; R. P. Allen, clerk; Allan Philip, assessor; A. LeFevre,
justice of the peace, and William Braton and William Spain, constables.
The value of the taxable property in 1913 was $447,548, not including
the property in the Town of Montrose, which was assessed at $57,939. In
1910 the population, including the town, was 1,780.
Pleasant Ridge Township
The Township of Pleasant Ridge was originally included in the Township
of Denmark. Late in the fall of 1842 the citizens living in the western
part of Denmark began the circulation of a petition for the
establishment of a new civil township, and on January 4, 1843, ^e board
of county commissioners ordered: "That so much of Denmark Township as
is included in the congressional township 69 north, range 4 west, south
of the Skunk River, shall be set off and established as a separate
township, to be known by the name of Pleasant Ridge Township."
As thus erected, the township contains all of congressional township
69, range 4, except a small portion of sections 1 and 2 in the
northeast corner, which is cut off by the Skunk River, leaving an area
of about thirty-five square miles. It is bounded on the north by Henry
County; on the east by Denmark Township; on the south by West Point,
and on the west by Marion. The land was surveyed in 1837 and the
settlers obtained patents in the years 1838-39. Some coal has been
mined in this township.
One of the first settlers in this part of the county was Alexander
Cruickshank, who "staked out" a claim about two miles from the Skunk
River early in 1834 and raised a crop there that season. Dur- ing the
summer he was employed for awhile in assisting to build the barracks at
old Fort Des Moines. There he burned about six hundred bushels of lime
— the first ever burned in Lee County — which he sold to the government
at \2 l / 2 cents per bushel. In the fall of 1834 Mr. Cruickshank sold
his claim in Pleasant Ridge Township and removed to the Township of
Other pioneers who came about the same time as Mr. Cruickshank were
William and Thomas Clark, Edward, John and David Enslow, George Berry,
John Burns, James Foggy, Margaret Damon and a family by the name of
Kirkpatrick. Henry Hellman, a native of Germany, came with his family
in 1834 and settled in Pleasant Ridge Township. One of his sons, Joseph
Hellman, soon afterward became a resident of the Town of Fort Madison,
where he resided for many years.
George Berry was a surveyor and laid off several of the early towns in
Lee County, among which are Charleston, Saint Paul and Pilot Grove. In
1837 he taught the first school in Pleasant Ridge Township, in Mr.
Kirkpatrick's house. The first schoolhouse, a round log structure of
the regulation frontier type, was built in 1839 on section 16. In 1914
there were eight school districts, employing twelve teachers and
enrolling 117 pupils.
The first sermon was preached by Reverend Mr. Pittner, a Methodist
Episcopal circuit rider, but the time and place where the meeting was
held cannot be learned. The first church was erected on section 16,
near the schoolhouse, by Methodist Episcopal denomination.
When the township was established in 1843, it was ordered that the
first election should be held at the house of Thomas M. Clark. No
official returns of that election can be found, but from outside
sources it is learned that Edward Enslow was elected one of the first
justices of the peace. Following is a list of the township officials in
1914 : Joseph Goody, William Hunold and A. P. Fletcher, trustees; J. C.
Foggy, clerk; W. J. Niemeyer, assessor; E. A. Snook, justice of the
Pleasant Ridge has but about two miles of railroad, the Fort Madison
& Ottumwa division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy System
crossing the southwest corner, but there is no station in the township.
There were about fifty miles of telephone lines in 1913, when the
property of the township was assessed for taxation at $458,414. The
population in 1910 was 588.
Van Buren Township
Van Buren is the most southwestern township of the county and is one of
the original ten established in January, 1841. It was named in honor of
Martin Van Buren, who was at that time President of the United States.
As at first created it included the western half of the present
Township of Charleston. Since that township was cut off in 1844, the
boundaries of Van Buren have been as follows: On the north by Harrison
Township; on the east by Charleston and Des Moines; on the south and
southwest by the Des Moines River, which separates it from the State of
Missouri, and on the west by the County of Van Buren. Its area is about
thirty-three square miles.
Some authorities give John Tollman the credit of being the first
settler. Early in the '30s, after a short residence on the Mississippi,
a few miles below Montrose, he built a cabin on the Des Moines River,
but, from some descriptions, this location is probably in Des Moines
Township. Among the early settlers, about whom there can be no dispute,
were Lewis D. Kent, Abraham Hinkle and Lewis Crow, all of whom were
living within the limits of the present township in 1836.
Authorities also differ as to who was the first white child born in the
township, some claiming that distinction for Eliza Jane Hinkle, a
granddaughter of Abraham Hinkle, and others state that the first birth
was that of Lucinda Kent. Both children were born in the year
Israel Cameron joined the little colony in 1837 an ^ in 1840 he taught
the first school, using his door-yard for a schoolroom. He had fifteen
pupils in attendance most of the time, but on rainy days the children
received a holiday. In 1913-14 the seven school districts employed nine
teachers, and the number of pupils enrolled was 125. David Galland came
at the same time as Mr. Cameron and was one of the early justices of
Being situated in the half-breed tract, the settlement of the township
was slow, owing to the litigation over land titles, and when it was
created in 1841 there were probably not more than a score of families
living within its borders. After the title question was adjusted by the
courts, the settlement of the southern part of the county was more
rapid, and in 1910 the population of Van Buren compared favorably with
the other townships of the county, being then 613.
The only railroad in the township is the Chicago, Rock Island &
Pacific, which follows the course of the Des Moines River — about nine
miles of track lying within the township. The people living in the
northern part are within easy access of the Burlington & Carrollton
division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy System, which runs
through the southern part of Franklin Township. There were in 1913 over
fifty miles of telephone lines in Van Buren, and the taxable property
in that year was valued at $284,206 — less than one-third of its actual
When the township was established it was ordered by the board of
commissioners that the first election should be held at the house of
Abraham Hinkle on the first Monday in April, 1841. At that election
John Milliken and John Arrison were chosen justices of the peace; John
Richards and John Cuppin, constables. In 1914 the officers of the
township were : G. W. Warson, S. W. Wells and W. H. Butlin, trustees;
T. C. Pollard, clerk; William Shepherd and Robert Anthony, justices of
the peace; Winfield Scott and A. F. Thews, constables; G. W. Ware,
It would require considerable research to ascertain just how many civil
townships, or other political subdivisions, there are in the country
that bear the name of George Washington, the first President of the
United States and the "Father of his Country." Washington Township in
Lee County is one of the ten established in January, 1841, and as
originally created it included the present Township of Madison. Since
April, 1841, the boundaries of Washington Township have been as
follows: On the north by Denmark Township; on the east by Green Bay; on
the south by the Mississippi River and the Township of Madison, and on
the west by West Point Township. It includes the congressional township
68, range 4, except a small tract in sections 35 and 36, which is cut
off by the Mississippi, and has an area of nearly thirty-six square
John Box, who came to the Black Hawk Purchase in 1833 and located in
what is now Washington Township, is credited with being the first white
settler in that part of the county. In 1834 ne was joined by Ebenezer
Ayres, Joseph White, Samuel Ross, Benjamin Box, James Smith, John
Gregg, John Small, the Herring family, and a Mrs. Palmer, with her two
sons — Devore and Lycurgus.
In April, 1835, Peter P. Jones, a native of New York, and William M.
Davis, of Ohio, located lands in the township. D. F. Box, who was born
in March, 1835, was the first white child born in the township, where
he resided for many years. In October, 1836, John Sawyer came from
Massachusetts and settled near the present railroad station of that
By order of the county commissioners in January, 1841, the first
election for township officers in Washington was held at the school
house on section 16, on the first Monday in April, 1841. At that time
Samuel Ross and David Wilson were elected justices of the peace, and
Charles Field and William C. Paine, constables. In 1914 Herman Vogt, S.
F. Hughes and Gus J. Miller were the trustees; Alex- ander Foggy,
clerk; William Mansheim, assessor; S. F. Hayes, justice of the peace,
and S. F. Ritter, constable.
The schoolhouse on section 16, mentioned above, was the first
schoolhouse built in the township, but the name of the first teacher
seems to have been forgotten. In 1914 the county superintendent
reported nine school districts, with an enrollment of 120 pupils.
Washington has a little over seven miles of railroad, the Fort Madison
& Ottumwa division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy System
crossing the southern boundary near the center and running in a
northwesterly direction until it enters West Point Township. Benbow and
Summit Sidings and Sawyer are the stations in Washington. The township
had about seventy-five miles of telephone lines in 1913, and the
taxable property was then valued at $488,856. In 1910 the population
West Point Township
This is one of the best agricultural townships in the county. It was
established in January, 1841, and was made to include congressional
township 68, range 5, giving it an area of thirty-six square miles. It
is bounded on the north by the Township of Pleasant Ridge; on the east
by Washington; on the south by Jefferson, and on the west by Franklin.
Sugar Creek flows through the southwestern part.
So far as can be learned from authentic sources, a young man named
Whitaker was the first white man to locate a claim in what is now West
Point Township. In 1834 he selected a tract of land in section 5,
though the survey had not then been made, and later sold out to John L.
Cotton and John Howell. This tract is now the site of the Town of West
Point, an account of which will be found in Chapter X.
In 1835 there were several new arrivals. Among them were two brothers,
William and Isham Burton, who came from Indiana and settled in the
northwestern part. They made the bricks with which the old Presbyterian
Church at West Point was built. In April, 1835, Lewis Pitman came from
Kentucky and settled on the creek which still bears his name, where he
lived until his death in 1862. About the same time Zedekiah Cleveland,
a New Yorker, located near the western boundary of the township and the
following year married Anna Ware, whose father lived in what is now
Marion Township. Some time in this year William Hunter opened a
blacksmith shop at West Point — the first disciple of Tubal Cain in
that part of the county.
During the year 1836 the population was increased by the arrival of
William Patterson, Green and John A. Casey, R. P. Creel, Hawkins Taylor
and a few others. Patterson was a Virginian; the Caseys came from
Illinois, and Creel was a Kentuckian. Both Patterson and Creel
afterward removed to Keokuk. Casey, after locating a claim, returned to
Illinois and remained there over winter. In 1837 he again came to West
Point and made preparations for bringing his family the following
season, but soon after returning to Illinois a second time he died. In
May, 1838, his widow came to the claim her husband had located,
bringing with her two sons — John A. and Joseph M. The latter was at
that time about eleven years of age. He afterward became one of the
prominent attorneys of Southeastern Iowa and served with distinction as
judge of the District Court.
Pursuant to the order of the board of commissioners at the time the
township was created, the first election was held in the Village of
West Point on the first Monday in April, 1841. William Alexander and
Peleg H. Babcock were elected justices of the peace, and John H. Rickey
and John McDonald, constables. The officials of the township in 1914
were as follows: John Rueter, J. G. Honadel and Theodore Vonderhaar,
trustees; Herman Lohman, clerk; Henry Harnagel, assessor; John Kempker
and Herman Brinck, justices of the peace; Joseph H. Fedler,
Peleg H. Babcock, who was one of the first justices of the peace, came
to Lee County in the winter of 1837-38, having been married but a short
time before. After a short sojourn in Fort Madison, he removed to a
claim north of West Point, but two years later became a resident of
that village. He served as clerk of the territorial council of Iowa and
as a member of the Legislature. In 1844 he removed to Fort Madison and
four years later was elected clerk of the District Court. In 1859 ne
was appointed inspector of the penitentiary at Fort Madison, a position
he held for several years. He was a prominent Odd Fellow and when he
died members of that order came from all parts of the state to attend
The people of West Point Township have always believed in education.
Subscription schools were taught there as soon as enough settlers had
located to make it profitable to a teacher, and in 1839 an academy was
incorporated. Its history will be found in the chapter on Educational
Development. In 1914 there were six school districts, in which seven
teachers were employed, and the number of pupils enumerated was
West Point has about five miles of railroad, of the Chicago, Burlington
& Quincy System, and there are over thirty-five miles of telephone
lines in the township. In 1913 the value of taxable property was
$371,819, and in 1910 the population was 1,342, which includes the
incorporated Town of West Point.
of Lee County,
Iowa, by Dr. S. W. Moorhead and Nelson C. Roberts, 1914