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Township Histories
History of Valley 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 petition for organizing this township was signed by W. F. TRAVER and one hundred sixty other legal voters, and, after a full hearing, it was ordered that the township should comprise congressional township 76; range 39.

The first election was held at what is known as the ACKER schoolhouse on the 8th of October 1878, and one hundred and twenty-six votes were cast. The elected officers were: Judges, W. C. BARTON, James LIVINGSTON and H. C. HOUGH; clerks, A. M. BATTELLE and W. H. BENJAMIN. The trustees chosen were: W. C. BARTON, S. ARMSTRONG, and S. D. ACKER; clerk, R. M. WHITE; assessor, R. D. BALLARD.

Among the oldest settlers was A. M. BATTELLE who came in 1855, when he crossed the state from Keokuk with a wagon, taking two weeks to make the trip. His household goods were shipped by river from Wheeling, W.Va., around by St. Louis to Council Bluffs. The road from Keokuk led through Ottumwa, Eddyville, and Afton. Afton had been located, but not a house had been built. He found three almost impassable sloughs about ten miles south of Lewis and persuaded a man who was breaking prairie to help him. He had to carry his wife and children across, as it was all the oxen could do to get the wagon through. Winter set in early and snow fell to a great depth, and for weeks settlers were compelled to live on hominy and venison, of which latter there was plenty as deer were easy to capture, owing to the deep snow.

At last, an old trader went with two yoke of oxen to Council Bluffs for food for the settlement, and was two weeks on the trip. He got stalled in a drift within two miles of home, but settlers helped him and he arrived safely, and sold his flour for $6 per hundred. No mail could be had nearer than the Bluffs.

Joseph HEADLEY, another old settler, was born in Pennsylvania in 1826, came to Iowa in 1841, and settled within the present limits of Valley township in 1852. He came in a wagon with his wife and made a log cabin his first home. His nearest milling point was Glenwood, Mills County, forty miles away. The first winter or two were severe. Wages were but fifty cents per day and corn $3 per bushel, the few settlers lived mostly on corn bread and game, and when they did raise what and market it, after hauling it forty miles, they were compelled to sell it for fifty cents per bushel.

The religious matters of the township have been liberally provided for. The Knox Presbyterian Church was organized March 23, 1873, by Rev. N. C. ROBINSON, with eight original members consisting of ROBINSON and wife, Thomas DAAL and wife, James SERVICE and wife, Mary RAY and Sarah BIRNEY. The first pastor was the Rev. Andrew HERRON of Atlantic. New Hope Baptist Church was constituted in 1875 by the Rev. E. BIRCH, who was the first pastor. There were thirteen members. Many members having moved away, the church was abandoned in 1879. The United Brethren Church was organized by Rev. Mr. ADAMS in 1875. The M. P. Church of Valley Township was organized in 1879 by Rev. B. F. POORMAN. The society or order of A.H.T.A. was represented by Lodge No. 95 and constituted in the spring of 1879. H. COOK was the worthy president; Emerson SMITH, secretary, and Joseph MOORE, treasurer.

The Carson branch of the Rock Island Railroad was completed and put in operation in the summer of 1880. The same summer F. H. HANCOCK, of Davenport, who owned the land now constituting the townsite, laid out the town. Samuel ARMSTRONG built the first house, beginning it in October 1880, and C. W. NEWMAN opened a coal yard about the same date, and near that time he established a blacksmith shop. The first store was erected by B. F. STEVENSON, in the grocery business, but it was soon transferred to E. KINNEY & Co. F. H. HANCOCK began buying grain in December 1880, and in two years bought and shipped 325,000 bushels of corn. His elevator was finished in June, with a capacity of 25,000 bushels.

The first lumber sold was by SEIFFERT & WIESE to W. H. BENJAMIN, June 3, 1881, the first day of opening their yard. G. DEIDRICH, mayor of Avoca, started a general store in October 1881. BATTELLE & BAVAN opened a saloon and also engaged in buying hogs. WHISMAND & ARCHER opened a general store. The ANDERSON Bros. Opened a saloon and restaurant, and A. A. ANDERSON opened a meat market, and Dr. C. HARDMAN and Brother a drug store, and Samuel ARMSTRONG opened a hotel. W. H. PATTERSON opened a law office, W. S. WILLIAMS was postmaster; I. G. CARTER, constable; Henry CARTER, drayman; J. REED, carpenter; Paul REED and Ira COOK, plasterers. The town at that time was over one hundred persons.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1874 but was known as the Valley Church. The pastor was Rev. William ARMSTRONG. It had seven original members, I. G. CARTER and wife, W. H. CLEMENTS and wife, Mrs. Martha REED, Mrs. Ira COOK, and Mrs. Andrew CARRIER. They had also a Sunday school of which W. W. WHIPPLE was superintendent.

Valley Lodge No. 439, I.O.O.F. was instituted December 9, 1881. The first officers were Samuel BELL, N.G.; A. H. WHITTAKER, V.G.; W. S. WILLIAMS, permanent secretary; Fairfield THAYER, recording secretary, and William CONVERSE, treasurer.

At the present time, the town of Hancock has three hundred inhabitants. It has two elevators, the Des Moines, with J. C. LAKE, manager, and the South Branch, with W. R. STEVENSON, manager; three general stores, one hardware and implement store, one furniture and one drug store, one hotel, one livery stable, one bank, two blacksmith and machine shops, two churches, Methodist and Presbyterian, graded school with principal and two assistants, one harness shop, one jewelry store, barber shop, one machine shop, one meat market that does its own killing, one opera house, two lumber yards, one cement block works, and one cannery. The Odd Fellows and Modern Woodmen each have a lodge.