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Township Histories
History of York 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

York is a full congressional township, being according to United States survey, township 76 north, in range 41 west. It is bounded on the north by Minden, east by James, south by Washington, and west by Norwalk townships. The eastern portion is drained by Middle Silver Creek, the central by Little Silver and the western by Keg Creek and its tributaries. It is mostly prairie of the same fertility as the adjoining townships, while the groves of native timber are along the water courses and consisting of lime, walnut, red elm, white elm, hickory, hackberry, burr oak, and red oak. The largest grove is on Keg Creek, and also the old state road, called the BALLARD Road. In the early days, no one ever thought to settle anywhere but in or by a grove. In fact, it was compulsory. Now, since the railroads bring coal, the groves have a chance to grow, and in many places the farmers' artificial groves furnish fuel sufficient for their use.

In the early times, when wood was scarce and some farmers burned corn, the writer asked one of it did not seem wicked to burn corn when so many mouths needed it. He replied that it was just as uncomfortable to be cold as to be hungry, and moreover, if I would bring him a load of coal, he would give me one of corn; and further, he said he could raise a crop of corn in a year, while it required ten or fifteen to raise a grove. There was some logic in this at that time, but it is to be hoped the necessity for this has passed.

The first settlers of York township were Elam MEEKHAM, N. HOLMAN, Wm. CHAMPLAIN, Alex CLOUGH, Henry RISHTON, SR., D. T. JONES, Lewis BEARD, Ratford DEWEY, Joel GERMAN, John INGRAM and West INGRAM. These gentlemen settled between and including the years of 1848 and 1857. The name of Mr. DEWEY recalls an incident in which he had a part more than forty-two years ago. The occasion was the draft in November, 1864. If any one was present from the county or township to be drawn upon, he was invited to draw. YORK had to furnish one or two and Mr. DEWEY, being present, was invited and drew his own son.

The first schoolhouse was built by the settlers at their own expense. It was a little log cabin twelve by fourteen feet, with two windows, had good strong rafters, and on these was put fir brush so thick as to hold earth, which was put on to the depth of eight or ten inches. It had a puncheon floor and slab benches. The first term was taught by Miss Harriet PERRY in the winter of 1858-59, and the second term in the summer of 1859 and taught by Miss Adelaide CLOUGH. It seems that at that early day, school marms were in demand for more occupations than one, as Miss PERRY was married in 1859 and Miss CLOUGH in 1860. If the memory of the writer is correct, it was not far from this time that Mr. Wm. MAXFIELD was married to Miss RISHTON.

By the year 1881, the schools had increased as follows: Number of sub-districts, seven; ungraded schools, seven; months taught, eight; teachers employed, male one, female seven; pupils of school age, males one hundred and thirty-six, females one hundred and twenty-four; schoolhouses, frame, eight, value $4,800. Joseph CHAMPLAIN was the first white child born in the township. Among the early settlers was Benjamin MINTURN, a good citizen, and possessed of a reasonable amount of property, but unfortunately became involved in a lawsuit with a man named PIERSON, who was similarly situated, and, both being stubborn, managed to keep their case in court until both estates were entirely consumed in court costs and lawyers' fees, PIERSON finally becoming a county charge. This is strange, but still abler men have exhausted fortunes in the same way.

This township had no town or railroad connection until 1903, when the Great Western cut through the northwest corner, but this being so close to Bently, it is hardly probable a town will be started here. However, prosperity has favored the citizens here as elsewhere, and an old timer, on returning after an absence of twenty years, would hardly recognize the place once so familiar to him. The old settlers have mostly passed away, but the world is better for their having lived, and now a part of their children, in turn, are opening up other homes nearer the setting sun.

The schools have grown since 1881 from seven to nine, and according to the state census of 1905, there were two hundred and fifty eight persons of school age, of which one hundred and thirty-seven were males and one hundred and twenty-one were females.

The board of directors are: President, Godfrey ELSABUSH; secretary, M. MINEHAN; treasurer, George KADEL. The township officers are as follows: Trustees, John RING, H. J. GEISE, and Calvin MAURER; clerk, Uriah McLEAN; justices of the peace, W. J. MILLER and Mike MINEHAN; constable, no one qualified, consequently the office is vacant; assessor, August GEISE.