This is a full Congressional township, comprising all of township 83 north, range west of the fifth principal meridian, containing an area of about 23,040 acres.  It is bounded on the north by Carroll,, on the west, by Toledo and Tama, on the south by Richland, and on the east by York township.


It is watered by Otter creek and its numerous small tributaries, the main stream entering in two branches at the northwest corner, one on section 5, the other on section 6, making confluence near the center of the latter section; then flowing in one stream in a southeasterly direction, passing through sections 7 and 18, the southwest corner of 17, then through 20, touching 21 and 29, then through 28, a corner of 27, making exit on 34.


The Chicago & Northwestern railroad touches the southwest corner and the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul traverses the township from the southwest toward the northeast.  On the latter road there is a station called Gladstone located in the southeast corner of section 29.  It is an agricultural township having no town within its borders.  The bottom lands of Otter creek comprise about one-fourth of the township, the soil of which is as good and as productive as any lands in the county.  The remainder of the township is about equally divided between high rolling prairie and bluff land - the latter having considerable timber.  On these uplands the soil is much lighter, yet it is productive and abounds with many excellent farms and the township is one of the best in the county.  The improvements are excellent and the farmers are an industrious, enterprising class, and as a rule are steadily adding to their wealth.




How may recollections cluster around this branch of history, reminisences of by gone days, remembrances of joy and sorrow, of prosperity and adversity.  It would seem sometimes that the present happy and comfortable homes have been purchased at a cost beyond estimation, yet there is always a feeling of satisfaction in the thought of a competence honestly gained, a home fairly won by the toil and labor of pioneer days.


The first settlement here was effected by Amos B. Hancock, on the northwest quarter of section 36, in the spring of 1853.  Here he resided three or four years then removed to Salt Creek township, where he died.  He was a native of Connecticut, brought up on a farm, married Miss Stewart and reared a family of children in his native State, and moved to Iowa, as above stated.  He was a great lover of his country and a strong abolitionist before the war.  In 1862, although over sixty years old, he enlisted in the 37th Iowa or "Gray Beard Regiment," with which he served faithfully until the close of the war.  He also had one son in the service, who fell while carrying the colors of his regiment and now fills a soldier's grave.  Mr. Hancock, after being mustered out of the service, returned to his home and spent the remainder of his days tilling the soil.  His widow yet survives and resides in Salt Creek township.


The second settlement was effected in November, 1853.  On the 14th of that month, there halted at the house of Amos B. Hancock, six wagons drawn by two span of horses and four yoke of cattle, containing the following named persons - Abram Tompkins with his wife and eight children; John Bishop, with his wife and daughter; Le Roy Olney and wife and Alexander La Dow, with his wife and seven children.  Two days later, this party with the exception of Mr. La Dow and family located on the right bank of Otter creek, on the northeast quarter of section 29, which land had been entered by Mr. Tompkins during the preceding August.  Here they stretched a carpet over some poles to serve as a tent until a rude log cabin could be erected for winter quarters.  Fortunately there was no high water that season, but Mr. Tompkins has often since seen the place then occupied by the cabin covered with water to the depth of three feet.  In the spring of 1854, Mr. Tompkins erected a house farther from the creek, where he removed his family.  He broke one hundred acres the first season, and in the spring of 1855, sowed it with wheat - the first in the township.  The crop raised was threshed by Chester Russell who run the first threshing machine in this vicinity.  The yield was an average of eighteen bushels per acre.  Mr. Tompkins hauled the wheat to Woodbury's mill, in Marshall county, where he exchanged the same for flour, giving two pounds of wheat for one of flour.  The flour he sold at Toledo, where he found ready sale at the rate of four dollars per hundred.


The following season (1854) J. M. Hayes and C. E. Hayes came to this township, also A. L. Russell, Calvin Powell, Hiram Riddle and Robert Carter.


In 1855, the settlement was increased only by a few persons, among whom were S. M. Harris, Benjamin Hayes and A. J. Tyler.


C. E. Hayes was born in Orange county, Vermont, May 28, 1828.  His father, Samuel Hayes, was a soldier in the war of 1812, and still resides in Vermont, being eighty-one years of age.  His grandfather served in the Revolutionary war.  C. E. received a common school education and helped his father on the farm until 1851, when he concluded to try his fortune in the far west.  He therefore moved to Illinois, but after residing in that State for some time, he determined to push farther westward.  Accordingly, in January, 1854, he came to Iowa and purchased 540 acres of land in Tama county, spent the ensuing summer in Illinois, and, in December, accompanied by his brother, J. M. Hayes, came to Iowa and settled where he now resides.  They commenced keeping bachelor's hall, J. M. serving as head cook and housekeeper.  Mr. Hayes hired two men and began making improvements as fast as possible.  In January, 1856, he was married to Miss Annette Patterson, a native of Vermont.  Mr. Hayes has met with marked success in his farming operations, and now owns 780 acres of land, besides a third interest in twenty-six lots in Tama City.  He is one of the original stockholders of the First National Bank of Tama, and has served as one of its Directors for many years.  He also owns a fifth interest in the Tama water power, of which he is a Director.  Mr. Hayes has given his attention largely to stock raising, and, for the last few years, has also engaged quite extensively in buying and selling live stock.  It is impossible to do the subject of this sketch justice in so brief a biography; but it can honestly be stated, that he is one of the most prominent and influential farmers of Tama county.  He is a Republican and has held various local offices, but is kept so busy watching his various interests, that he cannot take an active part in politics.  He also served as postmaster at Tamaville for many years.  His religious connections are with the Free-will Baptist Society.  The children are named as follows: Justin B., Lelah R., Cora L. and Charles H.


J. M. Hayes came to this county with his brother, C. E. Hayes,, December 24, 1854.  He at first assisted his brother, who had previously bought land, and in 1855, purchased eighty acres of his present farm.  In 1857, he went back to Vermont and married Miss Lucy Patterson.  He then returned to his home on the frontier and commenced keeping house in a building 16x22 feet, covered with shingles made by Mr Hayes partly on moonlight nights.  He has been successful as a farmer, and now owns 440 acres with good improvements.  His wife died April 14, 1872.  He was married the second time, in March, 1873, to Miss Lucy Swigert.  She died in August, 1876, leaving one son, Cyrus S.  In 1877, Mr. Hayes married Miss Libbie Swigert, a sister of his second wife.  Mr. Hayes was born in the state of Vermont, June 3, 1832.  His parents were Samuel and Sally (Brown) Hayes.  He resided in his native State until he came to Iowa, in 1854.  Mr. Hayes is a Republican and has held various local offices.


A. J. Tyler came to this county in the spring of 1855, at which time he purchased 180 acres of land on section 35.  He was a single man and therefore boarded, with C. E. Hayes and John Voorhies.  During this time he improved his land and erected a house.  Mr. Tyler was married December 8, 1858, to Miss Margaret Voorhies, daughter of John Voorhies.  She died October, 2, 1880, leaving four children: Emma A., Isaac Elmer, Frank L. and Nora.  Mr. Tyler has made a success of farming and now has a farm of over 800 acres.  He has, for several years, been quite extensively engaged in buying and selling live stock, and also in stock raising.  He is one of the founders of the First National Bank of Tama City, and is at present one of its Directors.  He is also one of the Directors of the Tama water power, of which he is a stock holder.  In politics, Mr. Tyler is a Republican, and has held several local offices, but has always had too much business of his own to attend to anything else.  He is always prompt in the fulfillment of his obligations and is highly respected as a citizen.  He was born in Vermont, March 13, 1828.  His parents were Asel and Ruby (White) Tyler.  He received a good common school education, remaining in Vermont from 1840 until 1854, taking care of himself, his mother having died.  In 1854 he was in Boston, and came to Iowa in 1855.


Among the settlers during 1856 were William  Meeker, Lathrop Meeker, D. C. Lamb, Alexander Johnson and others.


William Meeker, who is a native of New Jersey, was born in 1807.  His parents moved to Ohio when he was but seven years old, and there engaged in farming.  During their stay in Ohio, William was married to Miss Patience Mount.  In 1856, he came to Iowa, spent the first winter near Indiantown and then located on section 28, Otter Creek township, where he still resides.  Mr. Meeker is seventy-six years of age and his wife is seventy-three.  There were thirteen children in the family, eight of whom are now living: Lathrop, Amos M., Samuel, Sarah, Jane, Lewis, Clark and David.


Lathrop Meeker came to Iowa with his brother, Samuel Meeker, in May, 1855, settling for a time in Indiantown.  In the fall of 1856, he went back to Ohio, and prevailed on the balance of the family to come with his to Iowa.  In 1860, he married Miss Sophrona Tompkins, daughter of Abram Tompkins, and has since been a resident of Otter Creek township. He settled on section 32, in March, 1863, and now has a farm of 270 acres of land. Mr. Meeker was born in Warren county, Ohio, April 13, 1833, his parents being William and Patience (Mount) Meeker. Lathrop made his home with his parents until coming to Tama county. Their children are: Emma, George T., Bertha A., Milton C., Walter A., Fay E., Ralph S., Elma and Elmer (twins) and Albert W.


D. C. Lamb resides on section 13, where he settled in April, 1856.  He has given his attention to farming and now owns 870 acres in one body, and 320 in other parts of the township.  Mr. Lamb was born in Ohio, March 4, 1820, his parents being William and Catharine (Cupp) Lamb.  He assisted his father in business and attended school until he reached his majority.  He then attended school at Grandville, Ohio, thus obtaining a good education.  He subsequently taught school for several years and in 1844 married Miss Rebecca Walters.  She died in 1863 leaving six children - Maggie, now Mrs. E. W. Hodson; Jacob W., William, Almira, now Mrs. Wm. Garrettson; Ada now Mrs. Isaac Bunce, and Rebecca.  In 1866 Mr. Lamb married Miss Mary Shinholdt, and by this union six children were born - Christena, Catharine, Lizzie, George, Charles and Fred.  Mr. Lamb takes but little interest in politics nd does not adhere to any party, but always votes for the man he deems best qualified for the office.


Alexander Johnson came to Tama county in the spring of 1856, and first located in Indian Village township, where he worked at his trade as carpenter.  In 1860 he was joined in marriage with Eliza Jane Meeker, daughter of William and Patience (Mount) Meeker.  In 1862, he removed to Tama, remaining there a year, and then came to Otter Creek township, where he located on section 31.  He still lives there and has a good farm of 100 acres.  Alexander was born in Indiana county, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1833.  His parents were David and Margaret (Walker) Johnson.  He learned his trade and resided in his native State until he came to Iowa, in 1856.  The children are - William, Maria, James, Amanda, Eva, Mary, Nelson and an infant.  Mr. Johnson is a Republican and has held several local offices.


This township settled slowly at first, but after the close of the war the settlers crowded in and soon took all the Government land.  Among those who came early during the decade between 1860 and 1870, and are now prominent citizens may be mentioned:  A. W. West and Sylvester Wilcox - later followed by his son, George L. Wilcox.


Alexander W. West first came to Tama county in 1834, at which time he purchased 303 acres of land, but did not become a resident of the county until 1862, since which time he has resided in Otter Creek township.  He has purchased more land and now has a farm of 487 acres.  Mr. West was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, December 16, 1831.  His parents were Philip P. and Paulina (Roberts) West, the former a native of Virginia, and the latter of Pennsylvania.  He was reared on a farm and resided in his native State for a number of years, and then came to Jackson county, Iowa, from there he came to Tama county, where he still resides.  On December 31, 1856, he was joined in matrimony with Miss Sarah C. Sherrock.  She died in 1863, leaving three children, two of whom are now living - Isaac and Paulina.  In 1864, Mr. West was married to Miss Mary Feelay.  She has borne him eight children, five of them now living - Sarah C., Lydia E., Lily Fl, Alexander W. and Amos M.


Sylvester Wilcox was born in Connecticut, September 3, 1804.  He made his home with his parents until eleven years old, then came to New York State and followed farming.  During his last stay in New York, he was married to Miss Caroline Bissell.  In 1863, he emigrated to Iowa, and at once purchased his present farm, located on section 35 where he has since resided.  His wife died in September, 1878, leaving a family of seven children, only one of whom is now living - George L.  Mr. Wilcox lost the sight of one of his eyes in 1880, and in August, 1882, he became totally blind.  George L. Wilcox was born in the State of New York, February 16, 1834.  In March, 1855, he married Miss Delia A. Kasson, also a native of the Empire State.  He came to Iowa, in 1863, and first settled in Buchanan county, where he followed blacksmithing until June of 1874.  Mr. Wilcox then came to Tama county, and has since had charge of his father's farm, which contains 255 acres.




The township of Otter Creek was organized in 1856; at that time it comprised all the Congressional township 83 north, range 14 west, and that part of township 82 north, range 14 west, lying north of the Iowa river.  The first election was held at the house of Abram Thompkins on the 7th of April, 1856, at which there were fifty-two votes cast.  C. E. Hayes, M. Mitchell and N. H. Bidwell, served as Judges of election, and R. C. M. Wells and C. Leach as Clerks.


The names of the persons voting at the election are here given:


M. Cochran, A. J. Tyler, J. H. Voorhies, O. T. Clark, James Cloud, John Southard, E. A. Bumham, M. Baker, Wm. Wooten, A. B. Hancock, L. Olney, A. W. Ammerman, James Gillen, Calvin Powell, William Rittenhouse, A. D. Olney, C. A. Russell, Benjamin Grover, J. M. Hayes, A. Rittenhouse, James Erwin, Daniel Grover, A. L. Russell, J. H. Richardson, William Rittenhouse, Jr., Hezekiah Baker, O. L. Truesdell, Aaron Baker, H. Cloud, D. Sater, M. Hunt, Norman Lewis, John Williams, Wm. Pickett, Robert Carter, J. A. Siling, George Pickett, Joseph Carter, H. Cross, A. Morse, Abram Tompkins, R. K. Clark, H. Riddle, C. E. Hayes, Mefford Mitchell, S. C. Leach, N. H. Bidwell, R. C. M. Wells and Daniel Rusk.


The officers elected November 7, 1882, were as follows - D. K. Richards, J. P. Evans, Trustees; Theodore Dupree, Clerk; N. Bidwell, Assessor.


The United Brethren have a society in Otter Creek, which holds meetings at the school house of District No. 7, and for the past four years there has been preaching at the school house of District 5.




In the spring of 1854, a postoffice was established at the house of Norman Lewis, on section 27, called Tamaville.  C. E. Hayes succeeded Mr. Lewis as postmaster, and the office was removed to his residence.  Thus it remained for a number of years, but finally the mail route was abolished, and the office discontinued.  After this the township was without a postoffice until May, 1882, when the Gladstone postoffice was established, and P. H. Dupre appointed postmaster.




 There is one cemetery in Otter Creek township situated on the southwest quarter of section 22, containing about an acre and a-half of ground.  The land was donated to the township for burial purposes by Norman Lewis, in 1861.




In the spring of 1882 the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company laid a side track from their main line, and made a stopping point on section 22, Otter Creek township, calling the station Gladstone.  The company had previously purchased the farm of M. W. Varner, and erected a depot.  There has been a store started here, by P. A. Dupre, in a building 20x56 feet.  Ths is the only store ever started in the township.


P. A. Dupre, postmaster at Gladstone, is a native of New York, born in Buffalo, November 9, 1854, a son of J. P. and Rose (Bouche) Dupre.  In 1864 he came with his parents to Tama county, and received a good education.  Subsequently he taught school for nearly eight years - three terms in Tama county, two years in Washington county and the balance of the time in Kansas.  Mr. Dupre was married June 15, 1882, to Miss Josie S. Muzzy, a native of Springfield, Maine.




It is said a community may be judged correctly as to general character by the condition of its schools, and to a certain extent this is true.  A people having a desire for the elevation and enlightenment of coming generations, and the better condition of mankind, are not found among the opponents of the public school.  Appreciating the desirableness of educational facilities, the early settlers of Otter Creek township made provision for a school in 1855, and erected a log house on section 19, and employed Miss Harriet Hatfield, who taught a term of three months for $20.  The next school in the township was near the residence of C. E. Hayes, in what was organized as district No. 3, and Miss Ingham was the teacher.


There are now eight schools in the township, and the school property is valued at $4,000.




The first birth in the township was Sumner, a son of Abram and Mary A. Tompkins, born on the 26th day of March, 1855.


The first death was the wife of Robert Carter, which occurred March 20, 1854.  She was buried in Oak Hill cemetery.


The first marriage united the destinies of Logan McChesney and Miss L. A. Hancock, daughter of A. B. Hancock. This was in 1854 and the ceremony was performed by Rev. Alexander LaDow.  The couple now reside in Kansas.

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Chapter XXXIV