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Township Histories
History of Rockford 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

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 be so.

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.