Hardin Township was
organized in 1869. Previous to this it was a part of Kane. It is a full
congressional township and is mostly high rolling prairie but has some
groves of natural timber. This township is named in honor of Richard
Hardin. He came to Council Bluffs with his father, Davis HARDIN and
family in 1838 when a boy. That being the first white family this far
up the Missouri. The Hardins were typical Kentuckians; tall, heavy
boned, fond of hunting, generous and liberal in all their views. Davis,
the father, was sent to take charge of the Pottawattamies, as will be
more fully treated in the part of this history pertaining to Council
Bluffs. Keg Creek, Little Keg, and Little Silver Creeks are the
principal streams, and the township is watered by springs.
The first permanent settler was Mr. Reece D.
PRICE, who came from Wales in 1849 and settled with a number of Mormon
families. There were one cluster of thirteen log huts in one camp, and
another of eleven. In the summer of 1850, these went on to Utah and
left the family of Mr. Price entirely alone. The rich lands, of which
none are better, soon attracted settlers and by 1858 quite a number of
first class citizens had located here. Among them were Mrs. PERRY and
family, R. C. THOMAS and family, and Mr. W. K. EAMES from Vermont, in
1857, and from this time on they continued to arrive, and soon a school
was started. The first ever taught in the township was by Mr. Lorenzo
BURR in 1857. He was employed by Mr. Reece D. Price, and the school was
in a log cabin belonging to him. The first bridges built were over Keg
Creek at the Hardin stage station and Weasel Run. Both are built of
logs. The first road was the old stage road, running from Des Moines to
Council Bluffs, and the Western Stage Co. did a great business until
the coming of the railroads.
The Methodists organized a little society as
early as 1880, also quite a large Sunday school. The first schoolhouse
built by the township was on section 18, near the residence of Mr.
James WILD. The first to teach in the new building was an English
priest by the name of MIDDLETON. From this modest beginning, the
schools had increased to the extent that in 1881 there were five
subdistricts. Number of teachers, males, two, females, seven. Salary
per month, both sexes, $30; number of pupils, one hundred and two,
females, eighty-two. Schoolhouses, frame, four; brick, one; value
$1,500. Since 1881, these have increased to nine in 1905 with three
hundred and six persons, including those of the new town of McClelland,
between the ages of five and twenty-one years.
The Chicago & Great Western Railroad is
the only one that passes through this township. It was completed in
1903, and immediately the new town of McClelland sprang into existence
and at this writing, there are a lumber yard, depot buildings, three
general stores, one drug store, one implement and hardware store, two
saloons, a livery stable, and blacksmith shop and one elevator.
The Methodists have organized a church and
erected a neat house of worship. Mr. Pete CRAMER is engaged in buying
and shipping stock. The County Infirmary is also located here under the
superintendance of O. L. BARRETT.
Among those who, by industry and integrity,
have made themselves prominent are D. F. DRYDEN and Elias QUICK, the
former being a farmer and large stock raiser. He was for a time a
member of the board of supervisors and is an ex-soldier in the Civil
War. The latter started a store in 1883 and a postoffice was
established at his store in 1884 and named Quick postoffice.
Few merchants have been as fortunate as he.
Starting in with a moderate stock, every one of the twenty-three years
showed an increase in his business and profits. This was due largely to
his strict attention to business and partly from the fact that no
better class of people can be found than those with which he is
surrounded, and both these gentlemen have become wealthy and built
elegant homes in the city, where they now make their homes, letting
their boys continue the business.
There are two churches in the township, one
being the Methodist, called Mount Hope, the other being Presbyterian.
A Masonic lodge and Eastern Star were
organized simultaneously in 1900 and a lodge of Modern Brotherhood in
1898, also a lodge of Modern Woodmen at Armour Grange in 1904.
No community, however well ordered, seems to
be exempt from trouble. It appears that a young man named John EMERINE
had married a daughter of Mr. W. K. EAMES. EMERINE became so dissipated
that his wife obtained a divorce and returned to her father's home.
They had one child, and Emerine would insist on coming to see the child
and on being ordered away by the father, shot him but only wounded him
slightly. On coming again, young EAMES shot him, only wounding him,
after which he left and was gone some time and again returned, and
being seen around the premises a younger son of Mr. EAMES shot him
again, this time proving fatal. There was no indictment.
The present township officers are: J. M.
UNDERWOOD, Eugene STEEPFELL, and F. B. CHAMBERS, township trustees and
M. W. DAVIS, clerk; A. F. MAMMEN and A. K. CHAMBERS, justices of the
peace; J. O. CHAMBERS, constable and H. R. SMITH, assessor.
The present board of education is composed
as follows: President J. W. WILD; secretary J. A. PRICE; treasurer,