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Maloy, circa 1910-15


Benton Township and Maloy

Ringgold County was opened for settlement in 1843. The boundaries of the county was established in 1847, and the four townships were established in 1859. In 1869, Benton Township was formed, named after U.S. Senator Thomas Hart "Old Bullion" BENTON (1782-1858) of Missouri. Senator BENTON was a staunch advocate of the westward expansion [Manifest Destiny] of the United States. He also was the first U.S. senator to serve five terms.

Two of the earliest settlers in what would become Benton Township was Josiah and Bazzel [Bazwel] TURNER. They entered government land in 1854, and subesquent purchases, primarily from the government, amassed a total of 1,000 acres of land each.

On January 23rd of 1853 Bazzel TURNER married Mary A. DALE, the daughter of Jesse DALE and Elizabeth (DOWDEN) DALE who had also entered land in 1854. The DALES came from Kentucky in 1853, going to Indiana, Illinois, and eventually Iowa. While in Illinois, Jesse DALE served in the Black Hawk War. He later served in the 26th Iowa Infantry, also known as the Gray Beard Regiment. Jesse settled near Bedford and acquired approximately 800 acres in Benton Township. He died at the age of 86 years in August of 1888 at the home of Bazzel and Mary A. (DALE) TURNER, Bedford.

Mary A. (DALE) TURNER was born August 15, 1835, Woodford County, Illinois, and died August 3, 1912, Chyenne County, Kansas. Mary and Bazzel TURNER were the parents of 11 children.

John Davis CARTER, Thomas DRYDEN, William LUDHAM, Edward KUHN, and John CUNNINGHAM entered land in Benton Township in the year of 1855.

John Davis CARTER first entered land in Section 27, eventually acquiring a large farm located just south of where the town of Maloy now stands. He was elected Ringgold County Sheriff and served two years before enlisting in the Union Army during the Civil War. John returned to his farm after the War in 1865. Later, John was elected to the Ringgold County Board of Supervisors.

John Davis CARTER was born in Ross County, Ohio, on December 21, 1824, and died at Maloy on December 29, 1919. His wife, Priscilla Elvira (CLINTON) CARTER, was born in Carroll County, Ohio, on January 23, 1826, and died in Ringgold County on March 29, 1883. John and Priscilla were interred at Platte River Cemetery near Maloy.

Thomas DRYDEN who arrived in 1885, entered land in Sections 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, and 19. Dryden School was named after him.

William LUDHAM homeded in Section 14 on June 17, 1855. Edward KUHAN from Pennsylvania settled on land adjoining the LUDHAM property on June 21, 1855. Neither LUDHAM nor KUHAN developed their land which was sold in 1870 to William LAMBERT except for three acres where St. Mary's Cemetery was located.

William LAMBERT was born in 1837, and died in 1907 with interment at St. Mary's Cemetery.

John CUNNINGHAM who arrived in 1855, settled in Section 15 and 17. The CUNNINGHAM family moved on to Colorado in the year fo 1873. Sixteen-year-old Anna CUNNINGHAM remained in Ringgold County and married Jeremiah SHAY.

J. L. ALLOWAY was another early settler although it isn't known when he entered land. There is an entry in the Ringgold County's assessor book, stating that he paid taxes on 300 acres of land in 1859. T. E. ALLOWAY was the last surviving member of the family. He lived on the remaining 40 acres of the family farm until his death in the 1940's.

In 1850, J. L. NEWTON settled in the southwestern part of Ringgold County. NEWTON moved to Mormontown [present-day Blockton] in 1865 and operated a grist mill and steam saw for 18 month. He returned to his farm, living there until his death. The youngest son, Monroe NEWTON, lived east of the original homestead until his death in the middle 1930's.

John DALE, Jesse's son, purchased land in Sections 19, 20, 29, and 30 from his father. In 1865, John purchased an additional 300 acres in Section 17 from Bazzel TURNER.

Luke SHAY traded 400 acres in Jefferson Township to Josiah TURNER for 800 acres in Sections 20 and 21 in Benton Township in the year of 1863. This land was located approximately 3/4 of a mile west of the present-day location of the town of Maloy. After acquiring the TURNER farm, Luke lived there until the year of 1867 when he purchased the adjoining John DALE farm. Luke continued to buy and sell land until his death in 1896.

Luke was the father of five sons and one daughter, all of whom remained in the vicinity of Maloy. Each of Luke's sons acquired additional land and were the fathers of more sons until there were quite a few SHAYS living in the area. Consequently, the area was locally known as Shay's Settlement.

Philip JARVIS was born in 1810 in Ohio. He married Mary WOLF (born in 1810, Pennsylvania), and came to Ringgold County in 1865. Philip, a superintendent and builder of bridges, holds the distinction being the only authentic inventor of the township. He invented the Jarvis patent for bridges on March 4, 1879, and the Jarvis wagon brake on March 2, 1890.

George LEMLEY arrived in Benton Township in 1868. He purchased 340 acres of land in Sections 4, 9, and 10. George died on December 20, 1883, and was interred at Conway Cemetery in Taylor County, Iowa.

David A. LEMLEY came from Mount Morris of Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1869 with his wife Malinda (HEADLEY). They settled in Section 10 of Benton Township. David and Melissa were the parents of James Vincent, born 1866, Greene Co. PA; Myrtle Emma, and Clara Credalia. David, who was born in 1835, died in 1907. Malinda (HEADLEY) LEMLEY was born in Greene County, Pennsylvania on September 14, 1842, and died at the age of 82 years on January 14, 1925. David and Malinda were interred at Platte River Cemetery.

Jed BEAMER settled in Benton Township in 1865. He was a stage driver for the Mount Ayr - Clarinda line until it was discontinued in 1869.

Jonathan PARKHURST was born in 1835. He came to Benton Township with his wife Mary (SENDLEY) PARKHURST in 1867. They settled on a farm located along the State Road. In 1870, they moved to Section 7 on an unimproved farm. Jonathan remained on this farm until moving to Maloy shortly before his death on August 11, 1922. Mary (SENDLY) PARKHURST was born in 1845, and died in 1921. Jonathan and Mary were interred at Platte River Cemetery.

J. R. STEVENSTON came from Greene County, Pennsylvania, arriving in Benton Township in 1865. He entered land in Sections 19 and 30. It has been said that STEVENSON led the way for many Ringgold County settlers from Greene County, Pennsylvania. STEVENSON was of German parentage, often referrred to as "Pennsylvania Dutch."

In 1871, Thomas STEELE entered land in Benton Township. He married Rebecca STEVENSON, J. R.'s daughter. In 1873, Mr. STEVENSON conveyed 80 acres of land located in Section 30 to Thomas and Rebecca. This was the beginning of the STEELE farm which was a Century farm in 1973, owned by Dan STEELE of Cedar Falls, Iowa.

J. M. STEPHENSON began acquiring land in Benton Township in the year of 1872. Mr. STEPHENSON was a Baptist missionary and a Democrat. His children were James Allen and Myrtle (Mrs. Minor) SAMS.

Jacob LEPLEY arrived in Benton Township in 1874. John J. LEPLEY, Jacob's son, was born in Burlington, Iowa, in 1862, and attended the Lone Star School. As an adult, John farmed extensively in Benton Township. John was the father of six children: Roy, Mary, Emma Lou, Lee, Agnes, and Merle. John died in 1952, and was interred at Forrest Home Cemetery beside his wife, Ida (1866-1922)

Samuel HARTLEY was born September 1, 1805. He was over 70-years-old when he migrated to Benton Township. Samuel was the father of a large family, all girls except for one son. Most of his daughters and sons-in-law accompanied him to Ringgold County. Samuel died on September 1, 1885, and was interred with his wife, Elizabeth (HAMMERS) (1808-1899) at Platte River Cemetery.

Will GERARD was married to Elizabeth Ann HARTLEY, the daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (HAMMERS) HARTLEY. They came to Benton Township with Elizabeth's parents. Will was a descendant of the GERARD family for which Gerard's Ford in Pennsylvania was named.

Vincent WORTHINGTON was another son-in-law of Samuel HARTLEY. He arrived in Benton Township with the HARTLEYS, his wife Nanna, and his brother Lorenzo WORTHINGTON. Vincent and Nanna were the parents of five sons. Many of their descendants still reside in Ringgold County.

Vincent WORTHINGTON was born January 10, 1838, and died April 28, 1917. His wife Hannah "Nanna" (HARTLEY) WORTHINGTON was born in 1840, and died February 18, 1903. Vincent and Nanna were interred at Platte River Cemetery.

Lorenzo D. WORTHINGTON was born October 23, 1844, and died April 26, 1929. His wife Marion C. WORTHINGTON was born July 18, 1845, and died May 9, 1921. They were interred at Platte River Cemetery. Lorenzo was a Civil War Veteran.


Many Irish settlers came to Ringgold County during this time. Some settled in Grant Township or across the county line in Taylor County.

In the year of 1859, William LAMBERT passed through southern Iowa while enroute from Kenosha, Wisconsin to the gold fields of Cripple Creek, Colorado. In 1870, William returned to Iowa with his brother Joe. William purchased the Edward KUHN and William LUDHAM properties in 1872. William's mother Margaret and his sister Rosa joined him in Benton Township. The farm was recognized as a Century Farm in 1983, owned by four granddaughters of Rosa, who had married Thomas SHAY. Many of the LAMBERT descendants are still residing in Benton Township.

In 1875, James O'CONNOR came to Benton Township with his wife and his brother Tom. James became a large land owner, living on his farm located south of Maloy until moving into town in 1910. He built a house which later was occupied for 50 years by John and Mary WARIN. James' son John owned and operated the family farm for many years. John's daughter, Mary McDONALD, divides her time between Maloy and St. Louis.

W. A. MATTHEWS drove an ox-team from his brother-in-law from Wisconsin to Benton Township between the years of 1870 and 1871. MATTHEWS decided to stay, purchasing land in Section 9. His descendants resided on that farm for many years. W. A. MATTHEWS was born in 1851, and died in 1935. His wife Louisa Ann was born January 28, 1853, and died June 13, 1908. They were interred at Platte River Cemetery.

The WARIN family arrived from Painesville, Ohio in 1873, settling on a farm located about three miles west of Maloy. Of the three WARIN children, Benjamin became a doctor and had his medical practice in Maloy from 1887 until 1908. The WARIN parents moved on to Colorado.

Luke HART of St. Louis, Missouri and New Haven, Connecticut, delivered a speech at the Old Timer's Reunion in 1945, Mount Ayr. Paying tribute to his grandparents, Luke and Julia SHAY, Luke said, "Their career was typical of that of other pioneer families. It is one of sacrifices made, of hardships endured, and ultimate success won by hard, patient, and perserving effort."

Maloy Centennial Book, Pp. 4-5.
Various obituaries at Ringgold County IAGenWeb site
WPA Grave Surveys
Civil War Soldiers database at

Compilation by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2010

  • Bazzel & Mary (DALE) TURNER


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