HISTORY OF WINFIELD TOWNSHIP
"From History of Scott County, Iowa, 1882 Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co."
Winfield Township was first settled in 1836, by William and John Quinn, who located their claims on sections 5 and 8, and at once erected a log cabin and commenced improvements thereon. William died in 1880, and John when last heard from by his old neighbors yet living in the township, was residing in Oregon.
The next to locate here were Joseph and James Quinn, brothers of William and John. Joseph now resides in Linn Grove, and James is in Nebraska County.
In answer to queries propounded by the historian of the Inter-State Publishing Company, John Robertson gave the following account of the early settlers of the township, or those living here in July, 1844: "John Quinn, from Ohio, opened a farm on section 9, now owned by J. T. Mason, who has occupied it since 1845; afterward laid off Point Pleasant on sections 4 and 5, and removed to California. Mr. Norman from Virginia, at Point Pleasant. Mr Freeman moved to Sheridan township. Robert Waterhouse moved to De Witt, Clinton Co. Henry Lea came from Canada and returned to the same place. George Ellis established a blacksmith shop at Point Pleasant, in 1844. Edward Lea entered a large amount of land in the township, but returned to Canada in 1845. Isaac Swim moved to Princeton Township, since deceased. Mr. Haskell's present residence is unknown. Joseph Quinn moved to Hickory Grove Township. James and William Quinn moved to Mahaska County. William since deceased. Mr. Martin moved to what is now Butler Township. He is now dead. Mr. Sherman moved to the Fifteen-Mile House, which is now in Butler Township. Leonard Cooper from Pennsylvania, since deceased. Charles Elder and family, from Pennsylvania. Mr. Elder died previous to 1844, but the family were then residing here. Mrs. Arable moved to Cascade. Elihu Alvord moved to Pleasant Valley Township; since deceased. He was from Connecticut. Brownlie brothers came from Scotland to Canada, and from there here. James is pastor of the Christian church at Long Grove; Alexander move to Poweshiek County; Robert and William are dead."
The first school taught in the township was in 1841, by Dominick Kennedy. This was an independent school, and the tuition was paid by parties sending their children. Hannah Alverd taught as early as 1849, in the log church erected by the community, and used ty the Disciples, the first church erected outside of Davenport.
Winfield Township, as a school district, has two sub-districts, with 190 scholars, and an enrollment of 93. The school-houses are small and valued at $1,000 for the two. In addition the township has two independent districts, Long Grove, No. 1, and Winfield, No. 2. The former has a school-house valued at $800, and has in the district 109 pupils, with an enrollment of 61. Winfield No. 2 has a frame school-house, valued at $1,000, and 104 pupils in the district, with and enrollment of 41.
The Disciples, or Christians, have the honor of first preaching the Word in this township. The first religious services were held at the house of James Brownlie in the fall of 1838, and were conducted by James Brownlie and brothers, who were members of the Christian church. A church or congregation was soon afterward organized, and was composed of Alexander, James, William and Robert Brownlie and their families. James Brownlie was elected elder, and Alexander Browlie, deacon. A log meetinghouse was subsequently erected and used for some years. In 1860 a frame house, 40 x 50 feet, 15 feet high, was erected at a cost of $1,000 cash, but a large amount of work. James Brownlie, James Rumbold, H. G. Neal, James Harzel, Henry Exley and J. H. Gilruth have each labored for the church. James Brownlie is the present elder; Dr. S. D. Richardson, John Grear, and C. Clapp, deacons. The church is moderately prosperous, and numbers about 50 members. A Sunday-school is kept up which was first organized in 1839. A. W. Brownlie is the present superintendent.
The Roman Catholics have also a church in that Township, located on section 14, which is in a flourishing condition. Father Smith now ministers to the spiritual wants of the congregation.
The Davenport & St. Paul, now the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, passes through the township. One branch entering on section 35, and running almost due north, leaves the township from section 2, where it crosses the Wapsipinecon River; the other branch enters on section 32, and leaves on section 31.
This was a village laid off in 1839 by John Quinn, on the Wapsipinecon River, on sections 4 and 5. The surveying and platting was done by A. T. Russell, county surveyor. Like thousands of "future great" places, the town came to naught, and its site is now a portion of the farm of the Normans.
Long Grove is a small station on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. It has never been platted, but a postoffice has existed here for many years, having been esstablished in 1870, with S. D. Richardson as its first postmaster. He has held the office ever since, and also runs a general merchandise store at the same place. There are now two stores, one saloon, blacksmith shop, shoe shop, carpenter ship, etc.
Long Grove Plowing Society
The Plowing Society of Long Grove was organized April 5, 1858, and the following officers were elected: John Madden, President; William Robertson, Treasurer; David Hardin, Secretary; John Robertson and Alex. Brownlie, Superintendents; John Pollock, John Long and H. M. Thomson, Awarding Committee.
The objects of the organization were to incite an interest in plowing, and promote a more thorough and efficient system of cultivation of the soil by the best approved methods. The members of this scoiety took premiums for the best work at every county and state fair where they competed. In 1874 the older members of the society becoming inactive through age, interest in the affair lagged, and the work of the association virtually ceased.
Mills were scarce in Iowa that day, and many families lives on hominy, and corn-meal ground in a coffee mill. The nearest mill was at Pleasant Valley, and another at the mouth of Pine Creek, Muscatine County.
In 1840 George Daily built a small grist-mill on the little creek north of Walnut Grove. It was the product of his own labor, except the stones, which were cut out of a prairie boulder and finished up for running by Alex Brownlie, who was a stone mason. Mr. Daily, who was an honest, hard-working man, ground for many years all the grain for the neighborhood, and made very good flour, although it took him some time to do it, upon his rude and primitive mill. He was called the honest miller. The old mill has gone to decay, and the builder removed the other parts.
It was about the last of August, 1838, that Alexander and James Brownlie built their cabins of logs and boards in the east end of the grove, in a cluster of large trees, that sheltered them from the bleak prairie winds. They afterward sawed lumber by hand with a whip-saw, rolling the logs upon a platform and one standing beneath. In this way they not only supplied themselves with lumber, but furnished much for their neighbors. Lumber then was worth some $40 in Davenport, and was not as good as that furnished by the Brownlies; the same could now be had for $18 and $20 per thousand. Well do many of the old settlers remember the solid comfort one found in their first cabin. It was the only place for a long time, between Davenport and Point Pleasant, on the Wapsipinecon, that the travler could find feed for his horse or food for himself, and he was never turned away cold or hungry, nor had he ever any reason to complain of high charges or want of attention. The travler was ever welcome, and although no designs or pretentions were made to keep a public house, yet none knew better, or were more willing to add to the comforts of all, than Mrs. Brownlie. The first stage road, and for some time the only road, to De Witt from Davenport, passed through this grove. The Messrs, Quinn at a later day opened farms on the prairie south of the grove. James Quinn was elected in 1859 to the House of Representatives on the Republican ticket, and was a man competent and well worthy to fill the honorable station to which he was elected.
The Brownlies still held their original possessions, with their lands under the best cultivation. The old log cabins have given place to beautiful dwellings, surrounded by choice fruit-trees and gardens, and the Messrs. Brownlie are considered among the neatest, most judicious and prosperpous farmers of Scoot County. Hugh M. Thomson, John Robertson, John Pollock and John Grieve, all brothers-in-law direct from Scotland, also settled in this grove at a later day, and are said to be not only good farmers, but scientific in their operations, and pay great attention to improvements in agriculture and the breeding of good stock. There are many other in and around this grove, both old and new settlers, well deserving of notice, who have done much toward the progress of agriculture in that settlement. In the early days of this colony there seemed to have been planted as a basis, good, sound, moral and religious principles, and they have been maintained to the present time.
In those days men were expected to be honest and were honest. "No one thought of locking their doors." The postoffice was at Point Pleasant, and John Quinn was postmaster. He was often from home, and the office was left open for all to wait on themselves. The whole neighborhood would take their letters to mail, and leaving them, would get what mail belonged to them, leaving their postage on the letter box or account afterward for the same, none desiring to cheat the postmaster.Everybody was poor alike and needed friends, and was always friendly. There was room for all, and the Long Grove settlement was a pattern of excellence in its early struggle, and nobly did it succeed. It stands to-day among the most enterprising, moral and religious communitie in the county or State.
A span of horses and wagon in those days were hired at $5 per day. The Brownlies owned the first wagon and the first fanning-mill in or about the settlement, which was used in common by the community for many years.
"In the autumn of 1838," says Mr. Brownlie, "when the first snow fell, our oxen strayed away, and early next morning I started on their track, following them across the uninhabited prairie toward the Mississippi River, and came up with them in Pleasant Valley about dark, without any money with me or acquaintance in that neighborhood. I applied for shelter and food of a true poineer, who has often fed the hungry and made glad the heart of the distressed immigrant by his cheerful and livley dispostion, and above all, his free and generous heart." It was the rude shanty of Captain Isaac Hawly, then just settled. The Captain not only gave him the hospitalities of the night, but supplied him unsolicited, with money he might need on his return. How sweet are the remembrances of such acts of kindness as we look back upon the scenes of early life in the West.