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Timber Creek Township

The next township by order of settlement, was named after the beautiful stream of water that courses through its whole domain, bestowing the immense advantages of never-failing water, forest, and  a beauty of landscape rivaling the parks of old England--such lofty trees are here, as if set out by the hand of some cunning gardener. There are signs of coal along its bluffs, of great benefit to the county, if capital would but seek out the hidden treasures.

Mr. J.M. Ferguson and Josiah Cooper settled on the south side of the grove in 1848. Mr. Ferguson lived here a good many years, became quite wealthy, and removed to Albion. Mr. F. had the usual cabin, built without nails, stick chimney and dirt floor, for a time, as there were no settlements this side of Oskaloosa or Iowa City, and but three or four families on the route.

His brother, George Ferguson, lived here some time, then removed to Le Grand, where he owned one of the best farms in the State. His horses have been justly admired at our County Fairs, and he lately sold a premium stallion to Mr. Jerolman, of Eden, for nine hundred dollars. Mr Ferguson has recently sold his farm to Judge Van Shaack, of New York, and lives near Marshalltown.

Mr. William Asher lived here awhile, and built, in the corner of Le Grand township, the first grist mill in the county. It was a very rude affair and only cracked kernels of corn a little, and did not attempt flour. But this was much better than to crack it between two stones about the size of a half bushel, then be obliged to eat the grit and dirt which necessarily came with the attrition process of the rude machine. Mr. Asher was a very good man, but soon after this he froze his left foot, and amputation being necessary, he could not survive the shock and died in the operation.

Carpenter Geer, another of the garrison at Fort Robinson, built the first saw mill in the county, and these enterprises fell into the hands of Mr. Griffith, who kept them operating for a time, but after turning his attention to politics, sold out to Mr. Brinnock and all went into the hands of Isaacher Scholfield, afterwards the best mills in the State.

John Campbell came to the northwestern part of the township in 1849, a young man from Linn county, and having pleasant memories of the place, gave the name also to Linn Creek. He had a good farm, ready to supply with provisions the citizens of Marshalltown, ere Anson had it scarcely christened.

W.C. Smith, and his brother, Jackson Smith, came in March, 1848. Mr. W.C. Smith was acting county clerk in early times, was judge four years, and has been a teacher, of an excellent character, in Timber Creek. He has ecclesiastical license to preach in the Christian church, and fills the pulpit with great ability, we are told. As his history is identified with the county, we shall speak further of Judge Smith on another page.

Mr. Jackson Smith has a splendid farm in this township--was the first justice in the county, and married the first couple that ever placed their necks in the yoke matrimonial, within its limits. The names of the happy pair were Mr. Almerian Geer, son of Carpenter Geer, and Miss Ballard, daughter of Philip Ballard, of Iowa township. This was in the spring of 1850, and Mr. Smith reports that it was one of the pleasantest times in the whole cycle of pioneer hilarity. They had a good supper, danced, and joked the girls, tucked the bride into her snowy bed-drapery, and laughed at her discomfiture.

Mr. Greenbury S. Ralls, brother of William Ralls, lived in Marshall near the edge of Timber Creek township. He bore severe privations bravely, and early filled many of the minor offices of this section with trust, and is in every way a kind neighbor and citizen. He now lives in Iowa township.

Another one of the rank and file of Logan's men (who, by the way, was himself a Timber Creek citizen, and since deceased), was Mr. Riley Majors, who lives very near the corner of Jefferson, having entered his claim of over two hundred acres. We believe he owned some lots in New Jefferson, a town that once was staked off on Jackson Smith's farm. There were several cabins built, and its lots were talked of once among land agents and real estate brokers in Marshall county.

Mr. Henry Burke who lives on the old Robinson claim, near the remains (if any) of the stockade fort, came here in 1858 from Southern Illinois. He raised a large family of sons and daughters; his wife died some years since, very much sorrowed after by the relatives and neighbors. One of his daughters married Solomon Miller, Esq., of Marshalltown, who left a splendid army record, and is now one of the most prominent citizens of the city. He has literary talent, and would fill an important position in county affairs, if our people will remember the soldiers in future.

Mr. Burke has one of the best cultivated farms in the county, over two hundred acres of growing crops, with a lovely fruit and walnut orchard back of his farm-house; sheep, cattle, etc.; and Mr. B. came here comparatively poor. He is brother-in-law to Mr. Powers, and also to Mr. Turner, once a citizen of this section, now in Missouri.

Mr. Crowder and Mr. Meyers, now of Iowa township, were neighbors on Timber creek; and the old settlers used to meet every week, and had parties, where all came, and eat pounded or cracked corn, with many a joke as to the power of each other's teeth in crushing the substitute for bread.

At one time, Mr. Greer went to Jack Braddy's, a near neighbor, who lived seven or eight miles away, which was a mere bagatelle as to distance. Being a widower, he wished to pay his addresses to a young lady there. Taking Jack by the ear, he whispers very softly, "Do you think she will set?" meaning that if she would set with him it was equivalent to an affirmative answer to his suit.

They had a quilting at Mr. Robinson's, the gentlemen being invited with the ladies; the dinnerpot with its savory ham was boiled out of doors over a chunk fire; guests, excepting the quilters, sat on the wood-pile and rude seats outside, so as to make room for those who wrought by the long ungainly frames. Corn-bread, good coffee, wild fruit, with the delicious ham, was the cuisine on the occasion. After supper came the height of enjoyment to shake the quilt over the prettiest girl; who blushed scarlet, and is now a happy wife, and mother of seven boys.

The Sherwoods came in 1856, and have good farms, also Mr. Asahel Stone, near Washington, whose splendid dairy is so identified with his name that he is familiarly termed the "cheese man." He brought considerable capital from the East, and buying a large number of cows, started the enterprise of supplying Duchess County butter and cheese for Marshall. And it is quite equal to that noted brand in the Eastern market, and we commend others, who attempt to palm off their white oak imitations on the public, to visit his establishment and take lessons of the bentleman farmer, Asahel Stone.

Mr. Forey, the father-in-law of the genial Dr. Rickey, of Marshalltown, is also a citizen of Timber Creek. He has lived here eight years, was loyal and true, when others were very conservative and wore butternut emblems. His son, David Forey, served with bravery in the "old Thirteenth Iowa."

Messrs. Owen, Blackburn, and Monahon, of Kentucky, came here quite recently, have good farms and also have made splendid improvements in the short time which they have been engaged in the work. Mrs. Monahan is a pleasant hostess and entertains the creme le creme of Marshalltown aristocracy with old fashioned Kentucky welcome.

In the north edge of the township, lives Father Gourley, a member of the M.E. Church for many years, and a worthy disciple of Wesley he is, too. He came to Timber Creek in 1854, has a good farm under cultivation, and is able and willing to help all those in need.

We close with a hasty mention of Mr. Hildebrand who was an early settler, Mr. Cooper, and Mr. Rogers, the energetic farmer living near the Marshall line, who has been here since 1857. He sent a brave boy to the Union Army, who died there, without a comrade near him.

This township is one of the best in the county, with good school houses, plenty of timber, mills, etc.

--pg 32-36, History of Marshall County, Iowa, by N. Sanford, 1867.

(c) Copyright 2007-16 by Jennie Williams Pahls. Last updated on October 21, 2016.