The early development of a township depends much upon the character of its first settlers. As a rule in new countries, the first settlers are not the men to subdue any great part of the soil, or make much advance toward permanent improvement. They seem in many instances to only open the way for men of more energy and enterprise. Buckingham township seems to be an exception to this rule, for most of her earliest settlers although some of them made a bad record, were men of industry, energy and perseverance, and consequently it flourished from the beginning, and its settlement was rapid and substantial.
The first man to cast his lot here was Norman L. Osborn, who came in January, 1852, and claimed the southeast quarter of section 26. After a few months he sold this claim to Mr. Dunkle, and removing to what is now Perry township claimed the northeast quarter of section 10. In 1853, he sold that claim to Giles and Ira Taylor and entered the northwest quarter of the same section, where he broke several acres and built a log house. Here he remained about two years, then sold out to Stephen Klingaman and again sought a new field for speculation. He was in Missouri at last accounts. The same year David Dean and family came to the county and claimed the southwest quarter of section 27. His son Ira, entered the southeast quarter of section 28, and the other son, Lude, the northeast of section 33. They all sold out in 1855 and went west. One of the sons is now at Goldfield, Wright county, where he keeps a grocery store and meat market.
John Connelly, a native of Ireland, came here in 1852, and entered the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 36. He afterwards murdered his wife, was arrested, but finally escaped and has not been heard of since. the details of this murder may be found in the chapter on "Events of Interest."
Patrick Casey, a native of Ireland, came this same year and settled on section 25. In 1854, he sold his farm and went to Geneseo, where he lived a few years, then removed to Kansas and enlisted in the army. He was discharged on account of disability, and returned to Kansas where he was employed by the Government to guard military stores. while in the discharge of these duties he was shot by a guerilla, who was taken by the crowd and hung to a tree. Mr. Casey's family now live in Kansas.
Otto Story came with the Deans and made a claim on section 33. He did not prove up his land, but sold out in 1854, and went to Wright county.
Mr. Sprigmire came in 1852, and claimed the southwest quarter of section 26 where he remained a short time and then went to Cedar county.
Alonzo Helm, who came here with the Helm family, claimed the southeast quarter of section 36 and remained a few years when he sold out and left.
Alfred Wood came here in the fall of 1853 and entered land, after which he returned to Illinois and spent the winter. In the following spring he started on his return with his family in a wagon drawn by two yoke of oxen, crossing the Mississippi river at Port Byron. They were nine days on the road.
Alfred Wood is a native of Massachusetts, born at Ashfield, in Franklin county, February 26, 1814. He lived on a farm until seventeen years of age, when he removed to North Adams and worked in the print mills of that place. In 1834, he started west, making the long and tedious journey to Cook county, Illinois, before stopping. He remained a short time in Chicago, which place at that date contained little else than a grocery store and the barracks where the United States soldiers were quartered, and then went on to the DuPage river, where he engaged in farming until the summer of 1835, when he removed to Rock River. There he was engaged until the following spring in driving a supply wagon for an Indian trading post from that place to Chicago, a distance of one hundred and thirty miles, after which he engaged in farming until 1841. During that year he, in company with his brother Dexter, erected a mill on Rock creek, near where Fenton Station of the C., B. & Q. railroad now stands. They operated the mill nine years, then sold it and Alfred removed to Erie, Illinois, where he entered two hundred and forty acres of land and began tilling the soil once more. During the second year of his settlement there his land was flooded and his crops lost. In 1853, he sold that property and came to Iowa for the purpose of settlement. He selected land in this county, in what is now section 30, Buckingham township. After making his selection he returned to Illinois, and in the spring of 1854 removed with his family to this county, but lived for one year in Perry township before settling on his present place in Buckingham township. Upon his arrival ehre, Mr. Wood moved into a log cabin owned by John Connell, in Perry township, and there lived until the fall of that year, when he erected the first frame house in Perry township and moved his family into it. Subsequently he had the same house placed on his land in Buckingham township. In 1855, he erected the house in which he now resides. December 18, 1844, he was joined in wedlock with Miss Betsey A. Moorehouse, of Pen Yan, New York. She bore him four children, of whom one, Charles, is now living, and died July 20, 1855. June 11, 1857, he was married to Sevena Bevan, a native of England. They have been blessed with nine children, seven of whom are now living: John A., Lorenzo E., W. T. Sherman, Albert G., Arthur, Sevena B. and Frederick. Their son Franklin was born October 23, 1862, and died July 4, 1876. He was struck by lightning and instantly killed; his father, who was with him, was prostrated by the same stroke, but soon recovered to find his son lying on the ground near by, dead. Theodore was born September 22, 1877, and died January 15, 1881.
J. T. Ames became a settler of Buckingham township in 1854, purchasing and entering land on sections 13 and 23, where he has since made his home. He is one of the largest farmers in this part of the county and is a prominent and respected citizen.
Leander and Theodore Clark came here from Huron county, Ohio, in My 1854, traveling on the cars as far as Davenport, which was then the terminus of the road, there they purchased horses and came from that point on horseback. Leander bought eighty acres of land in township 86, range 14, which is now within the limits of Buckingham, and the west half of the south-east quarter of section 25. Twenty acres of this land was improved prairie and the balance timber. After making this purchase he went to Wisconsin and bought three yoke of oxen, a wagon and a breaking plow, and returned to Tama county. He then bought and entered about a thousand acres of land in the neighborhood of his first purchase, a part of which was in township 86, range 13, now Geneseo township, and commenced breaking in that township on section 30. In 1855, he built a saw-mill on Wolf Creek on the land first purchased. In 1857, he was elected County Judge and moved to Toledo. In 1860, he returned to his farm, and in 1861 was elected to the Legislature. In August, 1862, he enlisted in the 24th regiment, Iowa Volunteers and was mustered in as Captain, afterward he was promoted to the rank of Major. He has made his home at Toledo since the close of the war.
Theodore returned to Ohio without buying any land, but returned in the fall and entered land on section 31, in township 86 north, range 13 west, now known as Geneseo. In 1857, he purchased a half interest in his brothers' mill, and in the spring of 1858, returned to Ohio and was married, after which he again returned and moved into a house he had previously commenced near the mill. In the fall of that year he moved his house to his land in Geneseo, where he made his home until November, 1877. He then went to Texas on account of his health, and returning the following spring bought land in Traer and erected a house, where he lives at the present time.
Dr. W. A. Daniel who came with the Woods brothers in 1852, and had made his home with them, came to this township in 1855, with his brothers Henry and Jacob and settled on section 33. Henry is now in the furniture trade at Waterloo, where he is doing a good busness. Jacob is in Denver, Colorado, where he is keeping the Columbia Hotel.
Fred Church, a native of York State, settled on section 32. He sold out in 1856 and went to Wisconsin. He was afterward a member of the Legislature of that State and is now dead.
Varnum Helm was another of the early settlers. He was a native of Rhode Island. At quite an early day he left his native State and pushed to the frontier. He remained but a short time in one place, for as soon as the country commenced to settle he would sell out and seek another home farther west. He came from Benton county in 1853, and settled on section 36, in this township. After remaining a few years, although an old man, he became restless and dissatisfied, settlers coming in made him again desirous of seeking another home in the western wilds, and consequently, he concluded to again sell out and journey toward the setting sun. But his wife refused to make another move in that direction, having had all the experience in pioneer life desirable. Not being able to persuade her to accompany him he divided the property and journeyed on alone, but soon returned and lived here with his family for a time, then exchanged his land for a farm in Black Hawk county, to which place he moved and was living at last accounts.
Robert Granger, another settler of 1854, a native of England, came here from Lake county, Illinois, and entered the west half of the southeast quarter of section 36, and the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of the same section. He improved his land and lived there until 1874, when he bought a residence in Traer, moved there and yet remains, having rented his farm.
Another native of England, John G. Scott, came in 1854, and settled on section 34. He deserted his family a few years later and went to California. His wife married again and now lives in Missouri.
T. Shiner, formerly from Virginia, came from Illinois, and located on section 34, where he lived until 1868, when he sold out and went to Missouri.
William Gordon, a native of Paisley, Scotland, came from Connecticut to Buckingham township in 1854, with his family, and settled on section 33. He remained there until 1878, when he removed to Traer, where he died in 1881. His wife died in 1864. Four of his children, William, Janet, Jane and Allen came to Iowa with him. William died February 27, 1859; Allen died December 18, 1877; Janet is the wife of Dr. Wesley A. Daniel, of Buckingham, and Jane is the wife of Robert McCormack.
Another Englishman, John Byworth, came here in 1854, and entered the west half of the northwest quarter of section 34. He received an injury while helping to build a bridge on the southwest quarter of section 34, from which he never fully recovered. In 1868, he sold out and removed to Missouri, where he now lives.
George Lyman of New York, was a settler of 1854, and selected the east half of the southeast quarter of section 33. In 1855, he sold to W. A. Daniel and went to Franklin county.
Henry Van Vliet, a Vermonter, came to this township in 1854, and entered the east half of the southwest quarter of section 36. In 1859, he moved to Perry township, where he now lives.
Eli Eldridge came the year following - 1855 - and bought land on section 25, where he lived a few years and removed to Grant township. He enlisted in the army and died at Jefferson barracks, Missouri, in 1863.
Gamaliel Jaqua, a native of Ohio, arrived in the fall of 1855 in company with four others. They came with team and wagon, crossing the river at Rock Island, and bought land on sections 28 and 33, then he returned to Ohio, came back in 1856, and the spring of 1857, built a house and moved in with his family. He is an influential man, has filled both township and county offices, and at the present time is editing a newspaper in Traer. His father-in-law, L. H. Thomas, came in the fall of 1856, and settled on Mr. Jaqua's place, where he still lives.
J. T. Ames, formerly from Massachusetts, came here from Wisconsin in 1854, and selected land on sections 14 and 23, and the following spring moved here with his family, and now lives on section 23. He is among the largest farmers in the county. William C. Reed came with him and bought land on section 24. In 1866, he sold his farm and removed to Grinnell. He now lives in Caldwell county, Missouri.
George Klingamon, formerly from Pennsylvania, came here with his family in 1855, and finally settled on section 30, where he died in 1879. His widow now occupies the old homestead.
George Klingamon was born in Columbia county, Pennsylvania, October 13, 1824. He was the son of a carpenter and when quite young learned that trade. In 1842 he removed to Ohio, settling on a farm in Auglaize county, and subsequently was married to Miss Mary Tam, a native of Fairfield county, Ohio. They were blessed with two children. In 1854, he made a short tip to Iowa, and during the spring of 1855, removed with his family to this State. He purchased land on section 30, Buckingham township, Tama county, but did not settle on it until two years later. They spent the first year with Alfred Wood, and the next year lived on Leander Clark's farm. In 1857, they settled on their own place, where the wife and daughter remained, while the following year Mr. Klingamon went to California to seek his fortune. He worked in the mines and quartz mills of that State two years, and then returned to his home where he remained until 1863, when he again went west, but this time chose the territory of Montana as the field of his labor. There he followed mining three years, after which he returned to Buckingham township and devoted the rest of his life to farming. He died June 12, 1879, deeply mourned by a large circle of friends and acquaintances. Their daughter Mary died in infancy, and Lizzie, who was born in Ohio, January 28, 1846, died January 30, 1876. Before her marriage to B. F. Noll, January 5, 1865, she had been a teacher. At her death she left three children - George T., Mary E. and Celia T. Mary E. lives with her grandmother, while the others are with their father in Nebraska.
George Kober settled in Buckingham, in 1855, and remained until the time of his death. He was born in Germany, March 17, 1830, and died at his home in this county, April 28, 1873. He was an upright and honest man, and his untimely death was deeply deplored by all who had known him. Mr. Kober received a good education in his native country, where he lived until he was twenty-two years of age. He then came to the United States and settled in South Britain, Connecticut, where he was employed in farming until 1855, when he came to Iowa and settled in Buckingham township of this county. He rented land until 1859, at which time he purchased a farm on section 34. His marriage with Miss Elizabeth J., daughter of Robert Granger, occurred in November of that year. They were blessed with seven children, six of whom are now living: Hattie A., Mary E., Elias F., John G., Sarah J., and Emma A. After marriage, Mr. Kober settled on his farm, and there lived until 1861, when he sold it, and purchased the south east quarter of the same section, upon which he lived until the time of his death.
His brother, John Kober, was born in Germany, June 6, 1843. During 1857 he came to America and settled in the state of Connecticut, where, for some years, he farmed through the summer and attended school winters. In 1862 he came to Tama county, Iowa, and in May of 1874, married his brother's widow. They have three children: Theodore, Amelia and Frank.
Joseph Keeler, a native of the State of New York, arrived in 1855 and purchased the south half of section 11, and the north half of section 14, for which he paid $2 per acre. In 1859, he sold to the Cummings brothers and removed to Kansas.
Daniel C. Ladd was a settler of 1855. He is a son of John and Nancy Ladd, and was born in Delaware county, New York, August 21, 1828. His youth was spent in school and on his father's farm. He continued to live with his parents until 1853, when he was married, March 24, to Miss Jeannette George, of that county. During 1855 he came to this State for the purpose of finding a good location for a future home. The summer of that year was spent with J. T. Ames, of Buckingham township, and before returning to New York that fall, he had entered a quarter section of land in that township. In the spring of 1856, he removed with his family to this county and spent the first year with Mr. Ames. The following spring he purchased land on section 13, where he has since made his home. Mr. Ladd has erected on his place good farm buildings and in every way has made it a comfortable home for himself and family. He is engaged in stock raising and dairying, and we must add that his wife has the reputation of being one of the best butter makers in the State. At the fair held in Milwaukee by the Union Dairy Association, in December of 1882, she received first premium for the best tub of June butter; also, the first premium for the best butter made in Iowa, and the second premium for the second best tub of August butter. They have three children: John T., William J. and George D.
George McKelvey came here in 1856, and made his selection on the north half of the southwest quarter of section 2, where he broke some land, build a board shanty with a bark roof in which he lived until 1859, when he caught the gold fever and started for Pike's Peak. He now lives in Kansas City, Missouri.
Joshua C. Wood settled in tama county in 1852, and became a settler of Buckingham township in 1856, by locating on section 33, where he still lives. He is a son of Lyman and Nancy (Heckathorn) Wood, and was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, February 1, 1827. Two years after his birth his parents removed to Hocking county, where his father died in 1839. In 1843 they located in Mercer county, remaining there until 1852, when they came to Tama county, Iowa. They settled in township 85, range 14, (now called Perry township), and there lived together until 1856. October 6th, of that year, the subject of this sketch was married to Miss Elizabeth Kyle, and immediately came to Buckingham township and settled on section 33, where he has since resided. Mr. Wood has improved his land and erected a good set of farm buildings. His wife died in 1857, and the following year he was united in marriage with Miss Hannah McKune. They have one son living, Francis W., and have an adopted daughter, Olive May. Mr. Wood is a man who possesses many warm friends and has held a number of the township offices.
John Galt, an old settler of Buckingham township, came here in 1856, directly from Ayeshire, Scotland, where he was born in July of 1810. He lived on a farm until fifteen years of age and then began learning the blacksmith trade. After serving an apprenticeship of three and a half years, he worked as journeyman two years and then set up in business for himself at Pound land, Colmonell Parish. There he remained in business until 1856, when he left his native land for America. He landed in New York city on the 4th of July, and from there came directly to Tama county, Iowa, and settled in Buckingham township. Mr. Galt was married, in 1834, to Miss Janet Wilson, who has borne him six children, three of whom are now living: David, was born in 1836. He received his education in the public schools of Scotland, and at fifteen years of age began learning his father's trade, which he afterwards worked at there until he left that country with his parents. In 1857, he opened a blacksmith shop in Buckingham township, but a year later, closed it, and embarked in farming, which occupation he followed until 1863, when he went to Manchester, Iowa, where he worked in a machine shop seven years. At the end of that time he returned to Buckingham township and settled on a farm, which he had previously purchased, on section 32. He now owns three hundred acres of land and is extensively engaged in stock raising. His marriage with Miss Mary McCormick occurred in 1869. They have been blessed with five children - Neil, Grace, Esme, Flora and Archibald.
JOHN HANKERSON came from Illinois, in 1856, and settled on the northeast quarter of section 3. In 1866, he sold out and returned to Illinois. He now lives in Kansas.
ADIN ANTRIM, a native of Clinton county, Ohio, came in 1856, from Illinois and purchased land on section 34. He came here with a two-horse team, five extra horses and eighteen head of cattle. He lived for some time in a sod house using his wagon cover for a roof. He improved the place and lived there until 1880, when he retired from his farm and purchased a residence in Traer, where he now lives.
JOHN D. LUTZO, a German, came here in 1856, from Wisconsin and settled on the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section fourteen. In 1870, he left for parts unknown. He used to ride on the back of an ox when making a trip to any place.
DAN BURMISON came this season from Indiana and located on the northwest quarter of section 13. In 1860, he sold out and moved away.
ONESIPHORUS GRAVATT was a pioneer of 1857, locating in Buckingham during that year. He was born in Surrey, England, October 20, 1826. He lived on the farm and went to the country school until thirteen years old, when he was apprenticed to a blacksmith. He served two and a half years and then worked as a journey-man about two years; then finding that it affected his lungs, he quit the business. At twenty years of age he went to the city of London, where he was employed by an asphalt company one year, and then received a commission as a police officer of the city. In February of 1850, he resigned, and the following April set sail for America. He landed in New York city, and immediately proceeded to Mercer county, Ohio, where, in August, 1851, he bought a piece of timber land which he cleared and cultivated. In 1856, he visited Iowa to see the country and selected Tama county as his future home. He then returned to Ohio, and in 1857, sold his farm in that State and came to Tama county, arriving on the 23d of September. He purchased a house and lot in Buckingham village, and rented land of Jonas Wood which he began farming. In 1860, he bought eighty acres on section 27 and the following year settled on it. Since that time he has added about five hundred acres to the first farm and has greatly improved the whole. During 1877, he erected the residence in which he now lives. In 1850, Mr. Gravatt was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Howick, who was born in Sussex, England, September 23, 1825. Nine children were born to them - Albert, Basilia, Carlisle, Mary A., Florella, Luella, Laura May, Cornelia and William V. The husband and children were called to mourn the loss of the wife and mother December 22, 1877.
In 1859, THOMAS CUMMNGS, in company with his four sons, became a settler of Buckingham township, coming from Pennsylvania. The father, and son Anthony, lived here until the time they died, and two sons, Martin and John are still resident factors in the development of this vicinity, and sketches of each are here presented.
THOMAS CUMMINGS, deceased, was born in county Mayo, Ireland, 1794. He was married in 1821, to Miss Mary Caffery, also a native of county Mayo, Ireland, 1794. He was married in 1821, to Miss Mary Caffery, also a native of county Mayo. They were blessed with seven children, six of whom grew to manhood. The wife and mother died in Ireland, in 1848. In 1852, Mr. Cummings joined three of his sons who had come to America some years previous. He settled in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, where he lived until 1859, then came in company with his sons, to Tama county, Iowa. He settled in Buckingham township and there lived until his death, which occurred in December of 1866.
His eldest son, ANTHONY CUMMINGS, deceased, was born in county Mayo, Ireland, April 27, 1822. His education was partially acquired in the public school, and afterwards completed by six terms at a select school in his native parish. In 1848, he emigrated to America. The ship landed him at Quebec and he remained in Canada until August of the following year, when he crossed over to the United States, and located in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania. There he was employed by a Pennsylvania coal company as weigh master. In 1850, he sent sufficient money to Ireland to enable two of his brothers to join him in America; two years later, the three sent back money that their father and three remaining brothers might cross the ocean. In 1850, Anthony's employers opened a union store and selected him to take charge of it. His marriage with Miss Ann Neiry occurred in 1851. During 1859, in company with his father and three brothers, he came to Iowa for the purpose of making a permanent home. They settled in Tama county, buying land on sections eleven and fourteen, of Buckingham township. Until 1860, they all lived together in a log house, on section eleven. However, during that year, they erected a frame house on the same section, and into it his father and two brothers moved. The subject of this sketch continued to live in the pioneer log cabin until 1861, when he removed into a frame house which he had build on section 14. Three years later he erected another frame house on the same section, to which he made addittions and in which his widow now lives. Of his family, there are nine children living; Thomas, Mary A., Rose D., Francis, John, Kate, Eunice, Albert and Lizzie. His widow owns five hundred acres of land, all of which is under improvement. Mr. Cummings enjoyed the confidence and respect of the community and held several offices of trust in the township. He died at his home in Buckingham township, Tama county, on the 16th of April, 1883. Mass was celebrated by Rev. Father O'Brien, in the Catholic Church at Lincoln, Black Hawk county, this State. The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. Scallan, of Waterloo. The deceased was a member of the church at Lincoln, and was buried in the Catholic cemetery at that place.
MARTIN CUMMINGS, son of Thomas Cummings, was born in county Mayo, Ireland, in 1830, and was there raised to agricultural pursuits. In 1852, Mr. Cummings came to America, landing at New York city on the 4th of July. He went from there to Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in mining one year; then went to Illinois, where he was employed in laying track on the Rock Island railroad and later on the C., A. & St L. railroad. In 1855, he started for California. He left New York city March 5, went by way of the Isthmus of Panama and arrived in San Francisco on the 28th day of the same month. He followed mining in California until November, 1858; then returned to New York; thence to Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, where he remained until January 1859. At this time he came to Tama county, Iowa, with his father and brothers and located land in Buckingham township, where he now lives on a finely improved farm. Mr. Cummings was married, in 1865, to Miss Jane Eagan, who has borne him eight children: Mary J., Catherine E., Thomas, Rosa A., Margaret, Elizabeth, John J. and James M.
JOHN CUMMINGS, fourth son of Thomas Cummings, was born in Ireland, March 4, 1853. Mr. Cummings made his home in his native country until 1850, when he came to America and joined his brother Anthony in Luzerne country, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in mining near Scranton. Here he remained until 1854, when he went to Illinois and engaged in laying railroad iron near Joliet. In the Spring of 1855, Mr. Cummings went to New York city, from whence he started to California by way of the Isthmus. There he followed mining until the fall of 1858, when he returned to the Eastern States. In 1859, in company with his brothers he came West, and located land in Buckingham township, Tama country, Iowa, on sections 11 and 14. He now lives on section 11 and like his brothers has been very successful as a farmer, owning four hundred acres of improved land. Mr. Cummings was married, in 1870 to Miss Hannah Barrett, a native of Ireland. They have been blessed with seven children: Mary, Ann, Ellen, Barbara, Kate, Thomas and Eunice.
J.V.B. GREENE, a native of the Empire State, became a settler of this township in 1861. He is still a resident of Buckingham, residing on section 34. He was born in Rensselaer county, New York, February 22, 1833. When he was but three years old his parents removed to Jefferson county of the same State. He was reared on a farm and received an academic education at the academy at Rodman village, and at Dexter Academy in Madison county. In 1858, he was united in marriage with Miss Philinda Hosmer, of Jefferson country. During 1861, he came to Iowa and settled in Tama county, buying land on section 34 of Buckingham township, as stated. Mr. Greene’s farm is now under a high state of cultivation and much beauty is added to the who place by a large number of shade and ornamental trees which have been set out by himself. A large barn and other necessary farm buildings have been erected, including his present residence, which was built in 1874. He has two children, Fred J. and Emma L.
After this year, 1861, the arrivals came in more rapidly, and in this connection, it is only possible to give a few of the most prominent of those who came, and are still here.
During the year 1864, among the arrivals were Norman Draper and John G. Nichols, who are both still living in the township.
NORMAN DRAPER settled in Tama county during 1864, and from the time of his settlement until 1867, he lived in township 86, range 15, now known as Grant township. In that year, 1867, he settled on his present location having previously purchased 80 acres of land there. He has since bought land adjoining his original purchase, and at present owns a farm of 240 acres, which is improved and contains a fine grove and apple orchard. He is a native of Ohio, having been born in Summit county of that State, February 19, 1832. His youth was spent on the farm and his education was received in the district schools. In 1852, he removed to Winnebago county, Illinois, where he lived until his settlement in Iowa, in 1864 . Mr. Draper was married on the 4th of July 1859, to Miss Catherine Noll, a native of Pennsylvania. They have been with five children - Alma J., Elmer N., Lewis E., Bertie H. and Willis N.
JOHN G. NICHOLS is a native of New York, born in Rensselaer country, May 10, 1820. He remained in his native country until he was twenty-five years of age, then moved to Jefferson county and purchased a farm in Adams township, where he lived but a short time, then bought property in La Fargeville and moved to that place. In 1857, he came west to sell machinery, and that same year purchased land in Genesco township, Tama country, Iowa.
He then traveled for two years through Iowa, Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, returning at the expiration of that time to New York, where he resumed farming. In 1867, he returned to Tama county, purchasing land in Buckingham township, on section 27, where he has since lived, engaged in farming. His farm is well improved, and he has erected a good set of buildings, hauling the lumber from Cedar Falls. Mr. Nichols was married January 30, 1846 to Miss Cornelia Green, daughter of Joseph Green, of Jefferson county, New York. They have but one child living - Horace. A daughter Helen M., born to them September 30, 1853, died October 5, 1876.
JAMES PHILP settled on his present farm in the northwestern part of Buckingham township in 1865, at which time that section of the country was one unbroken prairie. He was born in Cornwall, England, December 20, 1827. His youth was spent in school and on the farm until seventeen years of age, at which time he became engaged in mining. He followed that occupation in his native country three years, and in 1848, emigrated to America. He spent the first year in this country in working the lead mines of Hazel Green, Wisconsin, after which he removed to Illinois, and spent two years in the coal mines, situated seven miles east of the city of St Louis. Mr. Philp then proceeded to Canada, where he followed farming until his removal to this country, in 1865. His farm lies on section 8, and is now well improved and contains a fine grove. The subject of our sketch was married, in 1857, to Miss Ann Harper, a native of Whitley county, Canada. Nine children have been born to them - Walter, Elizabeth A., Maggie, Mary L., Stephen J., Effie M., George F., Joseph J. and Bessie M. Maggie was born October 28, 1862, and died September 20, 1869. Joseph was born March 19 1874 and died march 27, 1875.
EBER C. FARNHAM also settled in Buckingham township in 1865. His first purchase was 80 acres of land on section 13, a part of which had been improved; he has since added largely to it, owning at the present time 400 acres al of which is under improvement. In May, 1881, his swelling house was destroyed by fire, therefore the following summer he erected his present residence. Hi is a son of Elisha and Sarah Farnham, and was born in Thompkins county, New York, October 27, 1816. While yet a small boy Mr. Farnham’s parents removed to that part of New York State, which is now known as Genesee county. There his father cleared a farm and continued to improve it until 1833, when he sold all of his property and removed to Lapeer county, Michigan, where they were also very early settlers. The subject of this sketch lived with his parents but two years in Michigan, when his health failed and he returned to New York, where he resumed his trade, that of a carpenter, which he had learned in that State previous to going west. Five years later he went to Michigan again and was there married in 1850, to Miss Elizabeth Cavel of Monroe county, New York. During 1857, he removed to Wisconsin and purchased a farm in Walworth county. In 1859, he sold his home in that State, and made the journey to Minnesota, buying government land in Utica township of Winona county, which he improved and sold just previous to his settlement in Iowa. He has four children - Carey C.., Ward M., George L., and Laury A. Mr. Farnhams’ parents are still living in Lapeer county, Michigan where they settled fifty years ago.
JOHN FLEMING, one of the early land owners of Tama county, was born June 29, 1800. He was joined in wedlock, April 26, 1826, with Miss Mary Wills. Eight children were born to them, seven sons and one daughter. The youngest son died in infancy; the daughter is married and lives in Kansas; three of the sons are residents of Mifflin county, Pennsylvania and three of Tama county, Iowa. Mr. Fleming made his first visit to Tama county, in May of 1854, at which time he bought land in township 86, range 14. He continued to reside in Pennsylvania until 1861, though from the time of the first visit here until his settlement in this State, he made Tama county a yearly visit. In 1861, his son James accompanied him west, and together they completed the erection of a house on his land, on section 23, in the neighborhood of what is called Five Mile Grove. The same summer, the subject of our sketch with two others, organized the first Sabbath school in this vicinity, of which he was superintendent until the time of his death, May 25, 1868. His remains were carried back to Pennylvania by his son, and interred in Kishacoquillas cemetery, in Mifflin county. His son, John W. is a carpenter and cabinet maker by trade. He was born in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, January 12, 1837. His early life was spent on a farm, but when fifteen years of age his knee was accidentally injured to such an extent that he was unfitted, for time, for farm work and therefore, abut a year later, was apprenticed to an uncle who was a carpenter and cabinet maker, to learn that trade. He worked with him a few months and then went to Ohio, when he followed his trade four years. From that State, he removed to Philadelphia, where he received lessons in wood carving, drafting and finishing for some time, and then proceeded to Wooster, Ohio, where he continued his lessons. Later, he returned to his native county, where he started in business for himself, as cabinet maker and builder of fine carriages. While pursuing that occupation his health became precarious and his physician advised a change; therefore he sold his property and business in that county, and in 1866 came to Iowa, settling in Grant township on land belonging to his father. He was one of the commissioners appointed to organize the town, and the first two years after said organization was County Supervisor from there. In 1876, he came to Buckingham township, purchasing a farm on section 26, and three years later erected the house in which he now lives ,doing the work himself and also manufacturing the furniture in it. In 1882, he built his barn. His marriage with Miss Jane E. Fleming occurred in 1866. They have been blessed with six children: William R., Mary J., Annie W., Joseph M, Mabel and John L.
HENRY E. DAVIS, eldest son of Henry W. Davis (deceased), was born in Delaware county, New York, December 25, 1846. His father died January 19, 1855. During 1861, his mother, with her two sons, removed to Ogle county, Illinois, where they lived until 1866, when they came to Iowa. They settled in Buckingham township, Tama county, and bought land on section 2, which had been entered by William McKelvey. The subject of this sketch has since, improved the land and erected on it good farm building. His marriage with Miss Mary E. daughter of Isaac Stater, of Ogle county, Illinois, occurred in 1868. Four children blessed the union: Lena May, Homer H.., Nellie J. and Elmer I. Mr. Davis’ mother lives with him.
HENRY A. OWENS, the second son of William and Phoebe Owens, is a native of Indiana, having been born in Columbus, Bartholomew county, of that State, September 20, 1844. His father was a farmer and died when Henry was but ten years of age. In 1866, the family came to Iowa and settled in Tama county. Shortly after, Henry bought some wild land on section 22, of Buckingham township, and immediately began making improvements. During the years that have intervened, he has set out shade and ornamental trees, as well as a large number of apple trees, from which he gathers a liberal supply of fruit every year. In 1875, he built his present frame residence. On the 29th of March, 1876, he was joined in wedlock with Miss Elvisa Jaqua, a daughter of Gamaliel Jaqua. They have three children: Clinton R., Gamalied W. and Lucretia.
ANTHONY STAVELEY was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1832, and remained there till he was twenty-four years old. His youghful days were spent in school and on the farm. He left England in 1857, and settled in Canada, where he engaged in farming, and after an experience of several years of failure in crops he become dissatisfied, and sold his farm. He came to Iowa in 1866, and settled in Tama county, Buckingham township, and purchased a small farm of eight acres. Since then he has been very successful, and has added other lands, making a total of two hundred and eighty acres. He married Janie Bee, of Peterboro county, Canada. They have five children born to them, Fannie A., Charles A., Annie M., John W. and Herbert A.
JAMES DINSDALE, son of L. P. Dinsdale, is one of the most extensive farmers and stock raisers of Tama county. He was born in Yorkshire, England, October 10, 1839. When he was but six years of age, his parents emigrated to America, settling in Peterboro county, Canada, where the subject of our sketch was reared on a stock farm. He made his home in that county until 1869, when he came to Tama county, Iowa. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 19, of Buckingham township, and at once engaged in stock raising. There he lived until early in 1883, when he removed to section 18, where he had previously purchased a farm of Alexander Nicoll. He now owns six hundred and forty acres of excellent land as well as many head of stock. Mr. Dinsdale was married in 1861 to Miss Ann Nicoll, of Canada. They had ten children, eight of whom are now living. Mrs. Dinsdale died May 29, 1878, and Mr. Dinsdale was married again in March, 1880, to Elizabeth Atkinson, from Westmoreland, England.
DANIEL TIERNEY is a native of county Limerick, Ireland, and was born in 1836. When he was but six years old his father died. At the age of sixteen he came to America and immediately proceeded (after being landed at New York city) to Utica, New York, where he was employed in a livery stable. There he remained six years; and then removed to his cousin’s, and engaged in farming in Monroe county one year. From there, he located in the State of Illinois, when in May of 1864, he enlisted in the 146th Illinois regiment, and with it, went south. He was honorably discharged in July of 1865, and returned to Illinois. During 1869, he came to Tama county, Iowa, and purchased land in the south half of the southwest quarter of section 12, Buckingham township. Upon it he erected a house and continued to live there until 1882, when he sold out and removed to the southeast quarter of the same section, settling on land which he had previously purchased. His marriage with Miss Honora Cregan, took place in 1865. They have been blessed with five children: Catharine, Maggie, John O., Nellie and Honora.
WILLIAM PHILIP was one of the settlers of the northwestern part of the township. He was born in Cornwell, England, January 9, 1829, and spent his younger days on a farm. In 1847, Mr. Philip came to America, landing at Quebec, from whence he went to Cavert, where he followed farming until 1869. He then came to Tama county, Iowa, and purchased wild land on section 8, Buckingham township, where he has since made his home. His nephew, Thomas Philp, who came to Buckingham township at the same time, was born in Cornwall, England, April 9, 1847. He was married in 1873, to Miss Betsy Hall, a native of Vermont. They have three children- Lucinda M., Fredrick and George. On coming to Buckingham township, Thomas purchased land on section 8, which he has since improved and made his home.
WILLIAM TOMLINSON a native of Yorkshire, England, where he was born April 12, 1847. Until fifteen years of age his time was spent in school and on the farm; however, at that date, he was apprenticed to a blacksmith to learn the trade, but after about eight months decided to resume farming again. In 1865, he left his native country for America. After landing in New York, he went directly to Wisconsin and there engaged in tilling the soil until his removal to Tama county, Iowa, in 1872. He purchased land on section 20, of Buckingham township and immediately began improving it. During the year 1880, he erected his present residence. Mr. Tomlinson was married in January of 1870, to Miss Sophia Axon, a native of New York State. Two children - Alice Belle and Joe West - bless their union.
ALEXANDER SPEIRS settled in Buckingham township in 1874, on land which he had purchased several years previous. He was born in the parish of Colmonell, Ayershire, Scotland, September 18, 1838. His father, who was miller by trade, died when Alexander was but four years old, and his mother followed, five years later. The subject of this sketch then lived with an uncle one year, after which, he spent the same length of time with a sister; and during both years he was kept steadily in school. He then engaged in farming, which occupation he followed in that country until 1861, when he came to America. Upon landing in New York, he proceeded to Chicago, where he spent a few days and then went on to Bureau county, Illinois, and was there engaged in farming until his removal to Iowa in 1874. Mr. Speirs was married, in 1866, to Miss Nancy F. Blackburn, a native of Missouri. They have been blessed with eight children - William, Mary, Agnes, Alexander, James, John, Robert and Albert. During 1882, he visited Humbolt county, and while there purchased a quarter section of land in Avery township, of that county.
This township was organized in 1853, and contained what is now Genesco, Buckingham, Grant, Crystal, Perry and Clark. The last division was made in 1868, when Grant township was cut off and Buckingham assumed its present boundaries.
The first election was held in April, 1853, at the house of the Woods brothers. The following officers were elected: Justices, John Connell and David Dean; Constables, A. L. Dean and Robert Connell; Trustees, David Dean, N. L. Osborn and Samuel Dunkle; Clerk, Jonas P. Wood; Assessor, Jonas P. Wood. The Judges of this election were John Connell, David Dean and N. L. Osborn. The Clerks were J. P. Wood and A. L. Dean. The highest number of votes polled at this election was nine, that being the number which David Dean received for Trustee.
The last annual election was held at the Gravatt school-house,
November 7, 1882. O. Gravatt, J. C. Wood and P. H. Mason were
Judges and Robert Provan and J. G. Bull, Clerks. At this
election the following officers were chosen:
J.C. Wood, Trustee; G. Jaqua, Justice of the Peace; J. G. Bull, Clerk; J.V.B. Greene, Assessor; Road Supervisors: District no. 1, J. W. Fleming; District no. 2, E. B. Greene; District no. 3, Conklin Gay; District no. 4, F.B. Little; District no. 5, B.L. Keeler; District no. 6, D. C. Ladd; District no. 7, Thomas Cummings; District no. 8, H.G. Flakins. There were cast 107 votes.
JOHN G. BULL, present Clerk of Buckingham township, is a native of Greene county, Ohio, where he was born June 5, 1843. His younger days were spent on a farm. He received his education in the district schools and the Teacher’s Normal of Xenia, Ohio, which latter he attended three terms. In August, 1862, Mr. Bull enlisted in the 94th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served for three years. In 1865, he began teaching in the public schools of his native country, and continued until 1868, when he came to Iowa. Mr. Bull settled in Tama county, purchased land in company with his brother, on section 5 of Oneida township, and there engaged in farming until 1882, at which time they sold out, and the subject of this sketch bought his present farm on sections 27 and 34, of Buckingham township. He was elected to the office of Township Clerk in November of 1882, and the same year was united in marriage with Miss Rebecca Hopping of Greene county, Ohio.
The schools in this township have kept pace with the necessities. Buildings have been erected and teachers secured whenever there was a demand for them. The people have seemed desirous of furnishing all the children an opportunity to secure a good common school education and the record which follows will show how much they have accomplished.
In district number one the school house was built in 1870, on section 8. Miss Lucy Foster was the first teacher in this building. The original cost of the house was five hundred dollars and in 1880 it was enlarged at an additional expense of three hundred dollars.
School district number two did not have a building until 1874, when one was erected on the northwest quarter of section 20. Miss Jennie Felton was the first teacher in this house. Miss Jennie Graham was the teacher in the spring of 1883.
The first building for school purposes in district number three was erected in 1858, on the southeast quarter of section 36 and was a frame building. John Gaston was the first teacher. In 1873, this building was moved away and the same season another was built on the northeast corner of section 26. Clementine Goben first taught here.
District number four had its first school in 1858, which was taught in William C. Reed’s house on the northwest quarter of section 24, by Aurelia Slade. The children afterward attended school in what is now sub-district number six. This was made a district as it now exists in 1861; and a school house was built the same year. Miss Aurelia Slade was the first teacher in this house. The school here is now under the management of miss Eunice Cummings.
District number five. The first school house built in this district was in 1862, on O. Gravatt’s land on section 27. Miss Zoe Taylor was the first teacher here. Two or three years later this building was moved to the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of section 22 and in December, 1870, was burned and one term of school was taught in J.R. Holman’s house. The present building was erected in 1871, on the old site. Miss Amelia Gordon was the first teacher in the new building. Miss Kate Cummings is it’s present teacher.
The first house in district number six was built in 1860, on the northeast quarter of section 11, Miss Aurelia Slade was the first teacher. Three or four years later this house was moved to the southeast quarter of section 3. The present building was erected in 1870, on the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section 11. Mrs. S.J. Sarvey was the first teacher here. In the spring of 1878 this house was moved to its present location on the southwest quarter of section 1.
District number seven was set off in 1877, and a school-house built the same year, located on the southwest quarter of section 3 and Miss Del Wager taught the first term. James Pinkerton is the present teacher.
All these houses are in fair condition and additions are constantly being made from time to time.
A Methodist Episcopal class was organized at the Bovina school house in 1864, with J. R. Hankinson as class leader and Rev. Baker as pastor. There was only a small membership. Among them were the following: J.R. Hankinson and wife and Mrs. Jameson and two daughters from Black Hawk county. The organization continued in existence about ten years, being supplied by different pastors. The Protestants in this vicinity generally worship at Traer.
A Baptist society was organized at the Bovina school house about the same time the Methodists perfected an organization, with the following membership: W. T. V. Ladd and wife, George Brown and wife, William Spencer and wife, Mrs. J. E. Davis and C. T. Tower and wife. Rev J.J. Wilkins was the first pastor and was succeeded by E. L. Lesher. Meeting were held every alternate Sabbath. This organization also continued in existence about ten years. A Sabbath School was organized on section 11, in 1862, with W. T. V. Ladd as Superintendent; there were about twenty-five scholars. Meetings were afterward held at the school house on section 3, and in the new school house on section 11. The school increased in members and also continued in existence about ten years. Besides these religious societies many meeting were held from time to time in different places. One in the school house in district number one, where a class was organized by Elder Bailey in 1874 with ten members as follows: Mrs. Elizabeth Nichols, Byron Allen and wife, Martha Stephenson, Mrs. James Worley, Mrs. Betsy Philp,
Mrs. Daniel Cummings. Mr. Dix and Anthony Stunly and wife. In district number two a good many services have been held but no organization effected. Elders Hamilton and Livingston preached here. The Congregationalists had meetings in he schoolhouse of district number seven, and the Methodist Episcopal held some services in the same place. Religious meeting were held at the house of William C. Reed, on section 24, by Rev. J. R. Upton, a Congregationalist. Mr. Emerson afterward preached here and also Elder Roberts.
The Catholics held meeting in Martin Cummings’ house on section 14, in 1878. Father Kelley; from Eagle township, officiated and at the time Martin and James Cummings were baptized. Mass has since been said in Anthony Cummings’ house on section 14. The people of this vicinity now meet for worship in a new church in Lincoln township, Black Hawk county. Father O’Brien has charge there.
On the afternoon of the 8th of October, 1866, A.H. Felter murdered his wife and attempted to commit suicide. The details of this horrible tragedy may be found in the chapter of “Events of Interest”.
In June, 1854, Mr. Harton and son, while crossing Wolf Creek, were drowned. They were living on rented land on the southeast quarter of section 26, and were attempting to cross the creek on section 36. They have been breaking prairie on the opposite side from where they lived and during the day the creek had swollen to a great depth . The team was obliged to swim, and Mr. Harton and his son were thrown from the wagon and drowned. Their bodies were soon recovered. His widow afterward married again and moved away.
The first death in the township was a daughter of David Dean, who died in the summer of 1852 and was buried on section 27. A son of Mr. Spade died here in 1853 and was buried in Buckingham cemetery. This was the first interment in those grounds. As there was no preacher in the neighborhood they were buried without funeral services.
The first marriage was that of W.H.H. Hill to Charlotte, daughter of Varnum Helm. He enlisted in the army and died while in the service. His widow was married again and now lives in Nebraska.
An early birth was John A. a son to Alfred and Sevena Wood, born April 11, 1858. He is now married and living at Rock Branch, Woodbury county, where he is engaged in mercantile business. The first birth in this town was a son of A. L. Wood. He was named Wesley, in honor of Wesley A. Daniel. He now lives in Kansas.
In 1865, there was a blacksmith shop opened on the southwest quarter of section 1, by Irwin Thompson. Two years later he moved the same to Genesco township.
Leander Clark built a saw-mill on Wolf creek in 1855. He built a brush and dirt dam and secured a fall of six feet. An up and down saw was used. In 1857, he sold one half interest to T.F. Clark, who continued the business until 1863, when the dam washed out, since which time the mill has not run.
LARCH HILL CEMETERY.
An association was formed in 1878, by the following persons: O. Gravatt, B. F. McKay, D.C. Ladd, J.T. Ames, Charles Tower, W.W. Blanchard, William Pinkerton. Board of Directors, O. Gravatt, President; J. T. Ames, Secretary; B. F. McKay, Treasurer, J. T. Ames donated nearly two acres of land on section 14, a part of which had been used for a private burying ground. It was platted by Ames and Gravatt into lots twenty-two feet square, valued at ten dollars each. Mrs. Susan Ames was the first interment, buried here in 1865.
The grounds have been beautified, improved and trees set out. Making it a picturesque spot.
Thee was a post office established in 1867, called Bovina, with C.H. Blanchard as postmaster. The office was kept at his house on section 10, mail being received twice each week from Buckingham. The office was discontinued in 1873. About this time Buckingham post office was moved to section 22, and kept at the house of postmaster, J.R. Holman. This office was discontinued about one year later.
The above is the name of a large stock farm in Buckingham township, J.T. Ames proprietor. Mr. Ames came to the town ship in 1854, brought a large tract of land, and is now one of the largest stock raisers in the county. In 1881, he built a barn on section 23, 120 feet long and 112 feet in width. It is conveniently arranged, has a capacity for 500 tons of hay and room enough to feed and stable 200 head of cattle. It is built after the most modern plan and cost between five and six thousand dollars. It required one hundred and thirty thousand shingles to cover the roof. The barn is supplied with water conveyed through pipes from a well about fifty rods distant, which gives forth a continuous flow the year round, furnishing a full supply. Mr. Ames keeps about 225 head of cattle, all of shorthorn grades. He also raised colts to some extent, but gives his attention principally to raising cattle.
J. T. Ames, owner of the farm, was born in Worcester county,
Massachusetts, October 18, 1819. When he was two years old his
parents removed to Erie county, New York, where eight years
later his father died. The subject of this sketch then made his
home with a brother-in-law Abner Dewey, until he reached his
majority, The intervening year being spent in attending school
and helping with the farm work. Upon becoming of age he followed
a sailors’ life on the lakes two years, and then started for the
west. He located in Walworth county, Wisconsin, where he entered
government land, and made that his home until the fall of 1843,
when he went south, and during the next four years was engaged
int4avhingh in the States of Missouri and Kentucky. He then
returned to Wisconsin, where he continued to reside until 1850.
April 8 of that year he started to California in company with
four others. They went overland with two four horse teams,
taking provisions and camping out on the way. August 20, they
arrived at their destination and Mr. Ames first work in that
State was the building of the levee at Sacramento. Subsequently
he engaged in building mills and flumes and also took contracts
for grading streets in Sacramento. During 1854 he returned to
Wisconsin, where he was married to Miss Mary J. Reed, formerly
of Dutchess county, New York, and the same year the young couple
came to Tama county, Iowa. Mr. Ames purchased and entered land
on sections 14 and 23 of Buckingham township, and has since made
that his home, although he spent the first winter after his
arrival here, in Wisconsin. He is now largely engaged in stock
raising in connection with farming. They have three children
living: Asa L., Herbert and John T.
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