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Township Histories
History of Crescent Township
 Townships  Formed
  Belknap 1872
Boomer 1860
Carson 1882
Center 1860
Crescent 1857
Garner 1877
Grove 1858
Hardin 1870
Hazel Dell 1872
James 1860
Kane 1853
Keg Creek 1874
Knox 1857
Layton 1873
Lewis 1878
Lincoln 1875
Macedonia 1855
Minden 1877
Neola 1872
Norwalk 1872
Pleasant 1873
Rockford 1855
Silver Creek 1860
Valley 1879
Washington 1873
Waveland 1873
Wright 1872
York 1861

From February 12, 1853, Crescent Township formed a part of Rockford. At the latter date, a petition signed by A. J. WILLIAMS and thirty-seven other citizens of the territory comprising Crescent Township, asking that the territory be set off as a new township and it was granted. This territory consisted of congressional township 76, range 42, and township 76, range 43, also a fractional part of township 76, range 44. This included its present territory as well as that of Hazel Dell and part of Norwalk. It was also ordered that an election for township officers be held at Crescent City in April 1857.

The first settlers were Mormons that came with the great exodus that halted at Council Bluffs and overflowed into the adjacent territory. Some of these renounced allegiance to Brigham Young, though still adhering to the faith as expounded by Joseph Smith. These remained here and have proved to be some of our best citizens. Among the number were David WILDING, an Englishman, William STRONG, Robert KIRKWOOD, Scotch. H. A. TERRY, S. M. HOUGH, and Joseph McCOID were natives of New York.

No citizen is better known than H. A. TERRY. For years he has devoted his time to demonstrating that fruit of all kinds adapted to this parallel of latitude could be profitably grown here, and he has succeeded in proving it, and in his old age is reaping the benefits of his earlier labors. He was among the first to organize the first agricultural society of which L. M. KLINE was president; D. S. JACKSON, vice president; J. E. JOHNSON, treasurer; and H. A. TERRY, secretary. This was in 1856. For many years, his seed business extended from St. Joseph, Mo., to Fort Pierre, Dakota.

Mr. Robert KIRKWOOD was a plain farmer and desired no office, but the people insisted on his representing them on the county board of supervisors, to which they elected him a number of terms, and, further, his party wished to send him to the legislature, but he declined the honor.

The first highway opened was the road from Crescent City to Council Bluffs, through the valley of the Little Pigeon, and in the crossing of that stream the first bridge was built. The first schools were probably kept by the Mormons and taught at some of the residences. In September 1855, Reuben BARTON, David DUNKLE, Wm. McMULLEN, Henry McMULLEN, and Solomon McMULLEN met and organized the school township of Little Pigeon, District No. 7. L. J. GODDARD was elected president of the board, David DUNKLE, secretary, and Reuben BARTON, treasurer. L. J. GODDARD was employed by the other members to teach at $30 per month until a schoolhouse could be built. A log schoolhouse was soon built and fitted up near the line between Crescent and Hazel Dell townships. The floor was of puncheons, smoothed by an adz, with earth roof. The seats were slabs with flat side up, with holes bored and pins put in for legs. These are the germs from which the great universities, with their bequests of millions, have grown and the foundation upon which the greatest nation of earth was laid. The next summer Miss Sophronia E. WHITCOMB, now the venerable wife of Rev. Henry DeLONG, was the teacher, and the house was crowded. For several years, this was the only school within a radius of seven miles. The second building was erected on Pigeon Creek, near the site of the Parish mill. From this time on, the interest increased with that of the population until before the division by detaching Hazel Dell, Crescent contained eleven subdistricts, all with comfortable houses. In the division, Crescent retained five of the houses, to which two had been added previous to 1880. At this date, ten teachers were employed, four male and six female.

The first postoffice was at Ellisdale Farm, two miles south of what was destined to be Crescent City. This was in April 1856, and the first postmaster was L. J. GODDARD. On Crescent City coming into being, it was moved to that place. It will be remembered that Crescent City is older than the township, it having been organized in the spring of 1856. The original proprietors were Joseph E. JOHNSON, H. A. TERRY, S. M. HOUGH, Samuel EGGLESTON, L. O. LITTLEFIELD, L. J. GODDARD, O. H. DUTROW, D. S. JACKSON and R. W. STEELE. Joseph E. JOHNSON erected the first business house in 1856, and Mr. JOHNSON opened a general store the same year in that building. Samuel EGGLESTON soon followed with another. The third was built by a Mr. PIPER, who built a large one but a short distance from the other two. Business not requiring so large a building, it was converted into a town hall.

In 1856, few towns away from railroads presented greater activity than Crescent city. A little newspaper was started called the Rock Bottom, but was short lived. Its principal business was to urge the bridging of the Missouri River between this place and Florence on the west side, five miles above Omaha. The dream that haunted the people of both these towns was that there being rock bottom here, it would be the only practical place to locate a bridge; that the first railroad would come down the Pigeon Valley, and that Crescent would supersede Council Bluffs and Florence should do likewise to Omaha. Crescent was laid out, platted, the streets named, a newspaper started called the Crescent City Oracle. It was quite ably edited by Joseph E. JOHNSON. Florence also made great strides. A newspaper was started there and also a bank, and for quite a while it looked as if there was something in it, but in the fall of 1857, when the great crash came, only the strongest of the young cities (there were no towns or villages) survived. Many houses in Florence were moved to Omaha and out onto farms, and from Crescent, both business houses and dwellings were moved to the Bluffs as well as sold to farmers. Among these was that of G. F. SMITH, the father of Hon. Walter I. SMITH, present member of Congress. He had a neat dwelling in Crescent which he brought down to Council Bluffs, and after living in it some years, sold it to the late Colonel W. F. SAPP, who finally died in it. So that little house had the honor of housing two members of Congress, and still - at this writing - is standing on Oakland Avenue, but it was while yet in Crescent City that the Hon. Walter I. SMITH was born in it.

It is a long reach from 1856 to 1907, during which time great cities have risen and some of the embryo cities disappeared. In the meantime, however, the little hamlet backed by the township has maintained its individuality and, in fact, grown with the township of which it is a part. At this writing (1907) it has a graded school of four rooms, a neat two-story frame, with Miss Mary SCHROT as principal, with Margaret JOHNSON and Nettie HUTCHISON, assistants. The members of the board of education are J. R. LAPWORTH, president; J. A. PRATT, secretary; and Warren HOUGH, treasurer. The Latter Day Saints have a neat church building; also the Methodists. Rev. Mr. Baldwin is a pastor of the latter. The Odd Fellows have a lodge of over seventy members, of which Dr. A. A. ROBERTSON is noble grand. The Modern Woodmen also have a lodge with G. B. HAMPTON as head consul. Crescent City has two stores of general merchandise, two hotels, a lumber yard, livery stable, and besides the nursery of H. A. TERRY, previously mentioned, is an extensive one known as the Crescent city Nursery, owned and operated by a joint stock company of which T. G. TURNER is president; E. D. MENARY, vice president; R. D. M. TURNER, secretary; and F. W. MENARY, treasurer. It has extensive salesrooms in Council Bluffs, with office at 3101 Avenue A.

It is interesting to a person who saw this beautiful country a half century ago and revisits it to note the difference. In place of the rude cabin and its equally rude outbuildings, we see the comfortable house of the prosperous farmer, with the box for reception of his daily mail at his front gate and, on entering, find the piano or organ while the telephone is waiting your bidding. Occasionally, we meet those whose life has spanned the long interval that reaches from the little log schoolhouse nearly hid in the grove down to the present time with all our modern conveniences and comforts. An interesting case of this kind is to meet the following named persons, now past middle age, viz.: J. A. BOREN, Mrs. H. A. TERRY, Warren HOUGH, and C. L. BARRET, and hear them tell of the time when, as little kids, they were pupils of Miss WHITCOMB, now Mrs. DeLONG, in the little log schoolhouse a half century ago and we wonder if the next will show as much progress. The little boys and girls must answer this, as we shall not be here.

The township officers at this writing 1907 are: Trustees, James R. LAPWORTH, Fred MILLER and P. J. MORAN; Walter HOUGH, CLERK; justices of the peace, J. A. PRATT, and L. S. JONES; constable, James KINNEY; assessor, H. W. MILLER; school board president J. R. LAPWORTH; secretary J. A. PRATT; treasurer Warren HOUGH. According to the state census, there are three hundred and eighteen children between five and twenty one, being one hundred and fifty nine of each sex.