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In the organization of Chickasaw County, a section of the northeast corner of the county, in area comprising one-fourth of the county, was established as one of the five election districts of Chickasaw County. To this large division of the county the euphonious name of Obispo was given. At the March term of the County Court, 1858, an order was made designing congressional township as Jacksonville.


Originally, there was a heavy growth of timber along the streams, and it was here that the first settlement were made. The timber is nearly all gone, but some of the old rail fences made from this timber can be seen in that section.

The uncertainty that obtains in the early history of all communities, as to the identity of the first settler, confronts the historian in the effort to decide that question ion Jacksonville Township. But the weight of evidence seems to give to Henry Shaffer, the distinction of the first pioneer who located within the boundaries of what is now Jacksonville Township. The same evidence fixes the time of settlement in the year 1853. In 1854, Hazzard Green located in this township and was probably the second permanent settler. In the same year, and the year following, several more immigrants seeking homes found the object of their search in Jacksonville Township. Among these were: John Davidson, Hiram Palmer, R. H. Mills, T. E. Mills, J. Fitzpatrick, Frank Dane, John Conner, S. Shaft, B. B. Orton, W. F. Beach, J. H. Dickens, John White, E. C. White, Jess Sabin, Enos Sabin, and numerous others found locations in different parts of the township during the years 1854 and 1855.

The most of these early settlers were of American birth and came from some of the eastern states; and they were mostly young men who had the education and refinements that pertain to the older communities. Among the first things to which these early settlers gave their attention was the establishment of schools and churches. Schoolhouses were located near the most thickly settled parts of the township and usually nearest to the most influential citizen in the neighborhood. The schools were crude structures, built of logs where timber was accessible, These schoolhouses also served as churches for a time.

From the best information obtainable, the first school in Jacksonville Township was in a log cabin located near Crane Creek, probably in 1854. A man by the name of Cole is said to have opened a school in the village of Jacksonville some time in 1855.


1854 - Hazzard Green is given credit of having built the first house in the township, a log hotel located on the site where the Town of Jacksonville was afterward platted. Green conducted this hotel until 1857, when it was torn down.

1855 - Allen &Wilkerson, of McGregor, Iowa, built a branch store at this place. It was a small board shanty, 14 by 20, hurriedly constructed, with no plastering or other provisions to withstand wintry weather conditions in Northern Iowa. The following winter was extremely severe and the clerk who attended store in that unprotected shack was compelled to wear a heavy overcoat and overshoes in order to be reasonably comfortable. The customers were few; only the people who from dire necessity were compelled to brave the deep snow and wintry winds to secure the necessaries of life.

1856 - Julius P. North opened a hardware and tinshop. Also in the Town of Jacksonville was opened a blacksmith shop that same year. These industries gave indication that this was destined to become a real town, and the owners of the ground decided to have it platted in town lots.

1857 - At first the town was called Greenville, in honor of Hazzard Green, the man that built the first house. When it was surveyed and platted by J. H. Dickens the name of the town was changed to Jacksonville. For a few years Jacksonville was quite a live, thrifty village, and gave promise of becoming an important business center. A number of town lots were sold, new houses built, several stores were opened, and there was about everything necessary for a well established town.

1869 - When the railroad was located and left Jacksonville some distance off the right of way, the fate of the town was sealed. The merchants that had started business in Jacksonville removed to Lawler, the other business enterprises closed up or moved else where, and eventually Jacksonville's name was changed to "Dennis".


In the settlement and development of the great Northwest the hardy people who came to this country from foreign lands contributed a very large part.  Among these were Norwegians and Swedes who came in large colonies  and settled largely in Minnesota and Wisconsin,  and the Dakotas;  many of these nationalities found locations in Northern Iowa.

Some of the early settlers were of  Norwegian nativity,  and it  is to the industry and thrift which characterize these people everywhere that the development of this township is largely due.

Concerning the foreign pioneers of Jacksonville Township,  W. J. Nugent, in a sketch published in the "Chickasaw Historical Atlas" had this to say:   The first Norwegians to settle in Jacksonville bought land near where is now Jerico, in the year 1864.  Land at this time was cheap, ranging from three to six dollars per acre.

The names of the early settlers were:   Thomas Halverson,  Ole Anderson, Hans Oleson,   Jetmund Knuteson,  Halvor Nelson and Otto Oleson. They came to this place from Dakota were they had found themselves in the midst of Indian warfare.

It was not long before many other settlers were attracted to their early settlement. Attle Attleson, and his sons,  Peter and Tolof Johnson,  Andrew Gordon,  Melchior Johnson,  Lewis Robinson,  Halvor Munson, and the Iversons were among those who came. From the foundations laid by the first six families has arisen a prosperous  and intelligent community that extends over nearly the entire county.

The German Element was not extensive in the early days.  In the northern part of the county were: Chris Kirshman., Michael Weigel and his son Andrew,  C. G. Miller, John Moetsch,  August Mettner, George Zigler and Michael Leichtman. These were all  thrifty farmers and in a very short time had secured for themselves and families a competency, which is a strong characteristic of the Teutonic race.

The English that settled in Jacksonville were not numerous.  John Gray and John Gospel were among the best settlers and they early secured good farms.

History of Chickasaw and Howard Counties (1919) Vol. 1, Chapter 10, Pages 237 through 240
Synopsis of Pages Transcribed by Lookup Person,  Leonard Granger