The first white settlers of
this township were Mormons that came with the great exodus of those
people from Nauvoo. A large detachment halted at Kanesville and filled
the ravines surrounding that section, and spreading northward, nestled
among the timber along the bluffs, and, although their stay was to be
but temporary, they built comfortable cabins and opened up good farms.
This was necessary, not only for themselves, but to maintain a halting
place for the pilgrims to rest and make repairs while on their 2,000
mile journey of untold hardship.
Joseph Hill was the first Gentile
arrival in the township. He took possession of a tract of land in
section 11 on the Missouri River, near what is known as the old St.
John landing, on which he made his permanent home. He came from the
vicinity of St. Joseph, Mo., in 1850, and was followed the next year by
Joseph Kirby and Arthur Mann. Samuel Kirkland and Mr. Robert McGovern
came the same year, and the former lived in this township until his
death in 1880, and the latter settled just over the line in Harrison
county and became one of its most respected citizens. One of the oldest
and most prominent settlers was Basil Fox. He was born in Putnam
county, Indiana, came to this county in 1852. When the civil war broke
out, he enlisted in the 29th Iowa Infantry, commanded by Colonel Thomas
H. Benton, and served until the expiration of his term, has always been
a strong Republican, was a member of the board of supervisors for two
years. He finally moved to Missouri Valley. Sherman Goss and his family
arrived in 1851. Mr. Goss was shot dead in a claim fight at Old Fort
Calhoun, Nebraska, in 1854 and his widow and children remained in the
township many years. All three of his sons served in the Union Army.
Although this township had some bad men, and a number of murders were
committed in the early days, the great majority of the pioneers were
sterling men, just such as open up the wilderness and break the ground
for a higher civilization. It has furnished two county judges, Hardin
Jones, and Abraham Jackson. The latter was a Democrat after the manner
of his old namesake, and when the War came, he came out strongly for
its prosecution, and became a power in the northwestern part of the
county, where there was a large anti-war element, at that time called
Copperheads. Fortunately there were cool heads on both sides enough to
prevent violent clashing. Perry Reel was a sample of this kind.
Although his political sentiments were known by all men, he was elected
Sheriff two terms, then county treasurer, then Sheriff again, even when
the county was Republican.
There is no record of schools previous to
1855 in the township, probably owing to the Mormons conducting what
schools there were in the earlier times in their dwellings. On that
year, one was opened in an old Mormon cabin located on section 10, and
Jacob Cox was the first teacher. By 1880 there were 7 comfortable
school houses filled with pupils. The first public bridge was built
over Honey Creek by Basil Fox, the first road supervisor. In 1859,
Wiley B. Hatcher built a small mill on Honey Creek, the mill work being
done by Basil Fox and a man named Popps, but the dam was washed away by
flood in 1870 and the site abandoned. In 1865-66, A.J. Bell and E.
Loveland built a mill on the Boyer, where the town of Loveland now
stands, and by which the town gets its name. It afterwards passed into
the hands of John Hanthorne & Co.
An interesting old settler was
Mr. Edward W. Bennett. He was born in Nova Scotia in 1805. He was a
Democrat, and often admonished the writer of this history to never pass
his house without stopping. After the horse was stabled, fed and
bedded, and yourself served with an excellent supper, he would kindly
say to his venerable wife: "Annie, please leave some water in the tea
kettle on the stove," and we would adjourn to the best room where a
bright fire blazed in an old-fashioned fireplace. On the sideboard were
a can of choice smoking tobacco and a couple of decanters glittering in
the fire and lamplight. And he would say: "Now we can leave politics
out of doors and take comfort." He had been all over the world as a
sailor, had been captain of police in Buffalo, and his conversation was
as instructive as interesting. In the meantime, the quiet little wife
would sit knitting. But they are gone, and we almost wonder why it must
In 1856 a Baptist church was organized where Loveland now is.
The original membership was 12 persons: W.A. Reel and wife, John Deil
and wife; Hardin Jones and wife; Mary A. Frazier, Cynthia Mace, Edward
Latham, and Josiah Skelton. In 1880 they erected a church at a cost of
$1,300 and the membership had grown to 75 at that time. Rev. John Case
was the first pastor; it is claimed to be the oldest Baptist society
west of the Des Moines River.
The present township officers are: Ed.
Wilson, J.A. Currie and W.J. Myers, trustees; D.H. Bailey and M.C.
Brocious, justices of the peace; J.R. Hutchinson, constable; Oscar E.
Copeland, assessor, and Orel Jones, clerk. Charles P. O'Neal of
Loveland is President of the school board; Bruce W. Morehouse,
secretary, and J.W. Frazier, treasurer.