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Township Histories
History of Hazel Dell 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

Mention has already been made of the division of Crescent township by which Hazel Dell was formed. It is a full congressional township. It lies mostly on high rolling upland, sloping easterly toward Mosquito and westerly towards Pigeon Creeks. There are fine groves of timber in the ravines and the soil is as good as any in the world. Most of the first settlers were Mormons, but the larger part went on with the great movement to Utah. The first officers of the new township were: J. P. BOULDEN and James OSBORN, trustees. Nearly all the early history of this township is identical with that of Crescent, but it has become famous as being the birthplace of Indian Creek. This is probably the most active stream on earth of its size. It rises in some springs near Hazel Dell Church, drains twenty square miles before reaching the city, when it has to be spanned by as many bridges. Engineers have grappled with it for forty years and it seems to relish the fun. It has not been an unmixed evil though, for it has been bringing down millions of yards of earth to fill the low ground at the foot of the bluffs, without which the beautiful ground where Bayliss Park, the courthouse, the library and much of the best property in the city, would now be a morass like it is a mile either way from these points. We will probably hear more of this stream in connection with the city of Council Bluffs.

Hazel Dell ! What prettier name could be found for a township? It, of itself, is suggestive of rural happiness. It was fortunate in its first settlers, being as good people as could be found anywhere. The VALLIERs, NIXONs, GREGGs, COOPERs, KINGs, BARRETTs, Rev. COOPER, O'BRIEN, HALLs, BOULDENs, TRIPLETs, SPRINGERs, OSBORNs, McGRUDERs, FROSTs, JENKINS and many more of the same sort; one would think they might be exempt from most of the troubles with which other communities are afflicted, but it seems that the evil one had long ago invaded a much happier though smaller one, and so this township, like most others in the county, must have its tragedies.

On the 26th of February 1878, in the northwest corner of the township, the people were shocked by the killing of David ROBERTS by Jonathan JONES. After a long and tedious trial, JONES was acquitted on the plea of emotional insanity caused by jealousy.

A long time previous to this, an affair was pulled off that partook of the nature of melodrama. There was a "fine old English gentleman" who was a widower, had a farm in one of the beautiful dells, and a fine trotting horse named Charley, of which he was very fond. He dressed well, was seventy, and still was not happy. He longed for a companion, and he found one about half his age, and all for a time went well. He was wont to extol her many virtues to his friends in town when he met them. In fact, he found her superior to either of his former wives (this was the third) and one fine morning he started to go to look at some land at quite a distance, but promised to return for supper; and she kissed him good-bye and put her arms around Charley's glossy neck and kissed him.

Someone once said "Frailty, thy name is woman!" When that old gentleman returned, he found his house a desolation! The finest of the bedding, all of the silver, china and glassware that had been his former wife's had disappeared as effectually as if the earth had opened and swallowed them up. All his efforts to locate her were fruitless, but after some weeks it was reported she was half way to Salt Lake with a younger man and former lover.

Another tragedy occurred more recently in the extreme southeastern part of the township. It appeared that a store at Weston had been robbed. Deputy Sheriff J. C. BAKER was investigating the matter, and on questioning a young man named George MATHESON pretty closely, he became indignant and shot BAKER. He was indicted and tried for assault with intent to commit murder and found guilty, but appealed and cause was sent back on error in ruling. On rehearing, he was convicted of assault with intent to inflict great bodily injury. In a civil action, Baker recovered a heavy judgment.

It seems but proper to make special mention of old Mrs. NIXON, the Spartan mother long since deceased, that sent three sons and three sons-in-law to the Union Army.

During the winter of 1855-56, an old Settler, Mr. BARRETT, father of O. L. BARRETT, superintendent of the county infirmary, became lost and was frozen to death, but his widow conducted the farm and reared the family. At this time, the people of Hazel Dell will compare favorably with those of any township in the county.

Its present officers are as follows: Trustees, Hans HENNINGSON, R. M. HOUGH and Geo. T. FORD; clerk, Wm. NIXON; justices of the peace, T. F. EMMERSON and R. T. HANSON; assessor, S. D. HOUGH; constable, Harry SHRODER; board of education president C. J. CHRISTOFFERSON; secretary, Wm. NIXON; treasurer, J. H. GREGG. According to state census of 1905, there are three hundred and eighty two of school age in the township, one hundred and ninety three males and one hundred and eighty nine females in eight sub-districts.

This township is only touched by railroads on the extreme southeast corner, where the Rock Island and Milwaukee running parallel strike the village of Weston. This place has an elevator, lumber yard, general store, one church (Catholic) and a graded school. The teachers receive $40 and $35 respectively for first and second grades.

Mr. Jacob HANSEN is entitled to special mention, having served the public faithfully as Supervisor and later on the joint commission of Harrison and Pottawattamie Counties to assess the benefits to land owners by reason of the construction of several ditches petitioned for and granted by the joint boards of said counties.