Pottawattamie County, IAGenWeb Township Home HOME

Township Histories
History of Grove 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

Grove Township derives its name from the fact that it has a number of fine groves that, if properly cared for, will be sufficient for a dense population and what in the way of forest would have been considered indispensable fifty years ago would now be objectionable. It has been demonstrated that it is easier to make a farm from prairie and raise timber than to clear heavy timber land and get it under cultivation. In Grove Township, we have a happy medium; enough but not a surplus. Grove Township was included in Macedonia Township until September 25, 1858, on which date, by authority of the county judge, the territory consisting of congressional township 74 north, of range 30 west, was declared a civil township, and the same was declared an election precinct, and it was ordered that an election be held therein on the second Tuesday in October 1858.

The election was held as ordered and the following persons elected: George B. OTTO, township clerk; E. W. KNAPP, justice of the peace; Cornelius HURLEY, constable; David WATSON, assessor; and Thomas CONNOR, A. J. FIELD and S. M. B. WHEELER, trustees. It is a full congressional township and bounded on the north by Center, east by Waveland, west by Macedonia and Carson Townships, and south by Montgomery County. It is watered by Jordan, Farm, and Indian Creeks, all flowing south and are fed by springs that never dry.

Long before this township had been organized or a permanent settler located, trails were made by the Mormons while on their pilgrimage, and these became the roads of the pioneers that followed. In 1848, the following named men came in over the old Mormon trail from Illinois, viz.: James WATSON came with ox teams; George OWEN, drove both horses and oxen; George TAYLOR came with ox teams. These brought their families with them and were soon followed by many others.

The first sawmill in the township was built and owned by John SMITH in 1853, and was located on Farm Creek. This mill was washed away during a freshet and was rebuilt in 1856 by C. HURLEY Sr, and again washed away. The next mill was built by J. S. WATSON about two miles below. In 1859, S. M. B. WHEELER built a mill on Jordan Creek. These were all sawmills, and the settlers were compelled to go to the old Indian mill near Council Bluffs or to Meeks' mill on Rock Creek in Missouri and at times when the roads were impassable, they resorted to pounded corn. Roads were gradually being opened and soon enterprising citizens established mills. The first bridge was over Jordan on the Mormon trail. In 1850 the settlers became so numerous that they began to talk of schools, and they employed a Dr. WILLIAMS to teach a school in one room in the residence of Jacob ANDERSON. This proved so satisfactory that a second term was taught by a Mr. John DAY in a little log cabin near the residence of S. M. B. WHEELER. The first building erected in the township for school purposes was located forty rods north of the center of section 20. It was built of logs with puncheon floors and seats. This was built in 1855 and used for a number of years. In 1865, the next schoolhouse was built, being located in the southeast corner of the southwest quarter of section 21, and for a time was used by the children of the entire township until 1868, when the township was divided into three subdistricts. From this modest beginning, the schools continued to grow until in 1881 when there were nine subdistricts with eight ungraded schools. Number of months taught, five and one-half; teachers employed, male five, female ten; compensation per month, males $30.86, females $29.70; pupils of school age, males one hundred and seventy five, females one hundred and sixty.

Many of these early settlers left Nauvoo intending to go to Utah, but for one reason or another, they paused here and finally concluded to remain and a few, if any, have had cause to regret it. The first to organize a religious body in the township were the Latter Day Saints. E. W. BRIGGS and W. W. BLAIR sere the organizers, and the original members were John SMITH and wife, E. W. KNAPP and wife, A. J. FIELD and wife, James OTTO and wife, Levi GRAYBILL and wife, John WINEGAR and wife, Joseph SMITH and wife, and Stephen SMITH. John SMITH was their first president and E. W. KNAPP the first clerk. Services were first held at residences of the different members and later at schoolhouses, but the society becoming more numerous and wealthy, in 1874 they erected a modest church building at a cost of $763. The membership had increased until in 1881 it had reached ninety and maintained a regular Sabbath School.

The Wheeler's Grove class of the M. P. Church was organized in 1865 by its original members, among whom were Isaac DENTON and wife, Jacob ELSWECK, Alexander OSLER and Susan A. STEDMAN. In 1875 they erected a church building at a cost of $1,300 and by 1881 their membership was sixty and their Sunday school was thirty-five.

Pleasant Grove congregation of the C. P. Church was organized by the Rev. J. W. CARTER July 1, 1876, was received under the care of the West Iowa Presbytery of the C. P. Church August 18, 1876, with Rev. J. W. CARTER the first pastor. In 1879 they erected a church building at a cost of $1,400.

The Christian Church was organized by Rev. Cephas ELLIS and Samuel JOHNSON. Their first pastor was the Rev. Samuel JOHNSON. In 1881 they commenced building a church at a cost of $1,200. They had, at that time, a Sunday school of sixty pupils.

The village of Eminence was laid out in 1875 by L. D. WOODMANSIE, who also was the first resident and also the postmaster, and in addition, started a general merchandising business. And the next to locate was Dr. A. J. MICHAEL and he was followed by Malcolm McKenzie, a blacksmith, and next came J. L. HARRELL. He engaged in the manufacture and sale of harness, and later a general store was opened by F. E. and N. PERSHALL, brothers.

September 30, 1863, Mrs. Isaac DENTON gave birth to boy triplets, which were named William, Wallace, and Willard. They lived but a short time. On August 17, 1864, the same lady gave birth to twins, but they lived but four and six hours respectively.

The most terrible cyclone that ever visited western Iowa spent its most destructive force on the devoted heads of the people of this township in which in less time than it takes to record it, an entire family was killed and thousands of dollars worth of property was destroyed. The details have been given by the press and are too well remembered by the citizens to require repetition, but simply to say that strong well-built houses and barns were reduced to kindling, farming implements and domestic animals blown out of sight, even fowls tripped of their feathers in an instant. The saddest feature was the instantaneous killing of the family of Mr. OSLER, Mrs. PAIST and son. Long since the damage, so far as money value is concerned, has been repaired, but the loss of the friends who perished cannot be forgotten.

According to the state census of 1905, there were in the township two hundred and forty-two persons of school age, of which one hundred and twenty-nine were males and one hundred and thirteen females. The school board is constituted as follows: President, James K. OSLER; secretary, John A. KNOX; treasurer, G. M. PUTNAM. Teachers' salary, $28 and $33.

The township officers are as follows: Trustees, L. A. KING, J. A. MITCHELL and A. C. BISSBE; clerk, Thomas MORGAN; justices of the peace, Harvey BOLTON and E. V. WINANS; assessor, John A. KNOX. No one qualified as constable.