This township, situated in the
eastern part of the county, was organized on the 14th of October, 1873,
by an order of the Board of Supervisors. It comprises
Congressional Township No. 75, Range 38. It is drained by Walnut
Creek flowing through its center. The greater portion of the
native timber found in the township, of which there is considerable, is
found on the East Nishnabotna (River), in the southeast part of the
township. The land otherwise is rolling prairie and exceedingly
fertile, the soil being the loam of the bluff formation, which
stretches from the east bank of the Missouri River to Cass County.
The first house
built was by a man named Campbell, whose Christian name has been
forgotten by the oldest settlers. He had a wife and two
daughters, and his house constituted the only stopping place for a long
journey for many years, on the road to Wheeler's Grove. Nothing
is now definitely known as to what became of this family, but the
general impression was that they removed to Missouri. The
Campbells were simply "squatters," and located in 1852 at the
point where the old State road crossed Walnut Creek. The first
death was that of a child in that family. It was quite awhile
before the township began to settle up, on account of its isolation
from a navigable stream and from railroads. The first marriage
noted was that of Henry Shank and Sophronia Dean, in April, 1858.
The first birth of which any note is made was that of Jesse Van Riper,
now Mrs. Wright, May 22, 1858. Levi Mills erected a house for a
tavern on the northwest quarter of Section 22, and this was afterward
kept by Mr. Whipple as a station house for the accommodation of the
Western Stage Company, on their route from Des Moines to Council
Bluffs. It is now the house of Mrs. Baxter. To the west of
Whipple Station, J. B. Deloy established a small store, and a post
office was also authorized at the same point, known as Whipple.
The latter was constituted in 1876. M. H. Elliott is the present
owner of the property. Alexander Evans bought a claim of land and
the improvements, such as they were, in 1855, from Granville Pierson,
and thus became the second settler in the township. Pierson
removed to Missouri in 1857, having located the claim sold to Evans in
1854. In 1856, the weather was intensely cold, and Evans killed
in the neighborhood of 100 deer in the timber and on the prairie.
Feed for them was exceedingly scarce. Of the old settlers who
came in 1855 were Amos West, Edward Dean and Charles Fenner; in 1856,
William Van Riper and Samuel Place, and in 1857 L. A. Burnham. As
already stated, Levi Mills, Alexander Evans and Campbell came at
earlier dates, but none earlier than 1852. Samuel Place settled
on Section 36. He enlisted in the Union army during the civil
war, and died in the service, leaving no heirs or representatives in
the county, so far as known. Levi Mills was a native of Ohio, and
was by vocation a hotel-keeper when he came into the county. The
house he built here was of native timber, and the shingles were
split. He went to California some time before 1860, where he
died, leaving no relatives in this county.
was born in Bristol County, Mass., January 31, 1784, and died in Wright
Township April 30, 1880. He lived until manhood at his
birthplace, and was married to Avis Hestor in 1808, who was born
January 30, 1788. The emigrated to Rhode Island in 1825,
and in Natick in the latter State, raise a large family. The
latter numbered thirteen children, of whom five are still living. Mr.
West came to Pottawattamie, with his wife and four daughters, married,
as follows: Edward and Mary Ann Dean, Cornelius Soper and Avis
West; Charles and Martha Fenner and William and Betsey Van Riper.
Edward Dean was born in Bristol County, Mass., in 1810. He
removed, at the age of seventeen to Central Falls, R. I., where he was
employed in a cotton factory for twenty-five years, when he came to
Iowa, as a member of the West family, haivng married one of the
daughters of Amos West in 1840. He located in Section 35 of
Wright Township. He has had five children, two of whom, Warren
and William, are residents of the Township. His daughter
Sophronia, that was married in 1858, to H. C. Shank. Charles and
Martha Fenner also located on Section 35. Charles Fenner and
William Van Riper, sons-in-law of Amos West, went to California in
1859. Fenner came back, went to Rhode Island, and remaining there
two years, returned to Iowa, and has made this his home ever
since. He now lives at Griswold, Cass County, a few miles from
the east line of Wright Township. Amos West laid his claim for
his land on a land-warrant for services in the war of 1812. Mr.
Van Riper is a native of New York City, and after reaching manhood,
went to Rhode Island. He came with the West family to Iowa.
He went to California, as already stated, and lost his life by a land
slide, and was thus buried in a drift mine, in which he was
working. He left three children in Pottawattamie County - Mrs.
Emma Jane Black, Clarence Van Riper and Mrs. Jessie Bertha
Wright. After his death, his widow married William Barnes, and
now lives in Cass County. Van Riper located on Section 26.
The religious interests of the township
are represented by the Whipple Methodist class, which was organized in
August, 1872, by the Rev. Mr. Adair, with the following members:
Henry W. Rarey, Mrs. Eliza Rarey and Mrs. S. J. Weaver. The
following spring, Mrs. J. N. Bell, Mrs. Charles Matthews, Mrs. Sarah
Matthews, James McGinnis, Mrs. Nancy McGinnis, Mrs. M. P. Black,
William Morford, Mrs. Susan Morford, Mrs. Eli Clayton and Mrs. Helen
Baxter joined the class. The present membership is
twenty-five. The pastors who have had charge of the class since
its organization are, in their order, Revs. Adair, Abraham, Lampman, A.
J. Jefferson, Wertz, Sweeley and Tennant. There are two branches
of the class now - one at the Porter Schoolhouse and the other at the
Black Schoolhouse. The latter was organized in March, 1882, by
the Rev. Mr. Moore, with Nathan Meredith and wife as members; Madison
Meredith and his wife; William Charles and his wife; Leonard Barnes and
his wife; Mrs. M. P. Black, Mrs. Bershong, Elizabeth Smith, David Utley
and his wife and Mrs. Twing.
prominent citizen in the township is Eli Clayton, the owner of one of
the largest farms in the county, and President of the Board of
Supervisors, and a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in these
annals. The first school attended by the children of the township
was taught by Harriet Howard in a log cabin on the southeast quarter of
Section 2, Congressional Township 74, in the summer of 1857. The
first building erected for school purposes was in Subdistrict No. 7,
and is what is called the Dean Schoolhouse. The lumber for this
structure was hauled from Boone, on the North-Western Railroad in
1866. The distance in which the lumber was brought is 140
miles. The desks and furniture were of native walnut, obtained in
the vicinity. Georgiana Hardenbergh was the first teacher of this
new building and is now the wife of Warren Dean, and lives in the
vicinity. Dean erected this schoolhouse.