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Township Histories
History of Washington 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

Washington Township was organized as a civil township form the territory comprising Congressional Township 75, Range 41, on the petition of C. W. Brown and others. It is situated east of Council Bluffs, and, among other points, includes the old stage station of Pleasant Taylor, on Silver Creek, on the old route of the Western Stage Company from Des Moines to Council Bluffs. The first election was held at the schoolhouse near Taylor's Station. The name of Washington was given to the township at the instance of Jerome Turner, a farmer and public-spirited citizen of the township, who has been a resident for many years. There were only sixteen votes cast at the first election. Situated, as the township was, at a great distance from railroads, and constituted, as it was, from raw prairie, with little timber, its settlement was exceedingly slow until 1875 and 1876.

The only post office in the township is near the old Taylor Station. The old station building was destroyed by fire a few years ago. T. H. Sketchley is the Postmaster, and also keeps a store, having the only one in Washington. The first road laid out after the township was organized was what is known as the Wasson road, from the Nishnabotna to a point near Parks' Mill, two miles from Council Bluffs.

The first schoolhouse was built by Jerome Turner, near the "station" at Silver Creek, in 1860. The district now has eight such frame buildings in all, and as many flourishing and prosperous public schools. The first teacher in the district was Miss Piles. Soon after the first schoolhouse was erected, a Sunday school was organized at that point. The first sermon was by Elder Golliday, who was then stationed in Council Bluffs. Pleasant Taylor came into the township first and opened up the stage station, and built the only mill ever erected in the township. It is now disused, and has gone to ruin. F. A. Burke, a Pennsylvanian by birth, but who emigrated from West Virginia, where he had been a steamboat Captain, was the next settler after Pleasant Taylor. He has been a resident of Council Bluffs for many years, and, for ten or more, the City Recorder and City Auditor, and a prominent Odd Fellow. Jerome and Charles Turner, brothers, came in soon after. Charles Turner moved to Phillips County, Kan., several years ago, but Jerome Turner is still a resident of the township, and a prosperous farmer. For many years these were the only settlers, and the distance to the next, at Big Grove, was six miles, and on the west the Dick Hardin Station, as many more miles, the intervening space being scarcely more than trackless prairie. Miss Piles was the first teacher, in 1859; Ellen Wood was the second. In 1864, Miss May Burke was the first teacher, and Miss Belle Burke the second. The first birth was Alice Turner, in 1858; the first death, Lucinda Nolands, a widow, in 1865; and the first marriage, James Taylor, son of Pleasant Taylor, to Miss Maria Piles, in 1859. Pleasant Taylor built his mill in 1856.

The original settlers in their order were: Pleasant Taylor, Jerome Turner, Charles Turner, James A. Taylor, William Taylor, F. A. Burke, T. B. Matthews, J. B. Matthews and A. F. Carter.

The first election was held October 11, 1870. P. B. Matthews, James Taylor and B. M. Weak were chosen Trustees; J. B. Matthews, Township Clerk; and B. M. Weak and W. L. W. Wasson, Justices of the Peace. The present officers are: J. K. Annis, Jackson Lewis and R. E. Williams, Trustees; O. W. Pearce, Justice of the Peace; Jesse Craven, Constable; and F. A. Turner, Assessor.

The Methodist Protestant Church of that township was first organized in 1861. There is also a Methodist Episcopal, and a Presbyterian society in the township, but none have any church building, the services being held at the public schoolhouse at Taylor's Station.

A tragedy occurred on the bridge at the crossing of Silver Creek at Taylor's Station in December, 1877, which caused quite an excitement in the township. Frank Briggs, a young man about twenty years of age, son of George W. Briggs, William Martin and a number of other young men of the township, were at a religious meeting at the Taylor Station Schoolhouse, at night. They left the meeting before it was over, and, crossing the creek, some kind of altercation occurred between Frank Briggs and William Martin, and the latter stabbed Briggs through the heart, in the road and instantly killed him. Martin was tried for the muder, and on the witness stand testified that he was simply acting in self defense. The prosecution was conducted on behalf of the State by A. R. Anderson,District Attorney, and John H. Keatley, and the prisoner was defended by C. R.Scott. There was a verdict of not guilty.