Colfax Township History

Excerpt from The History of Dallas County, Iowa, published in 1879 by the Union Historical Company of Des Moines, Iowa

     This is one of the central townships in Dallas county and is known in the  township 79, north of range 28, west of the 5th principal meridian.

     It has no river flowing through its boundaries; but the Panther creek enters near the northwest corner of the township and flows diagonally through, passing out about two miles west of the southeast corner, giving; it plenty of water and drainage facilities. There is not much timber within its bounds, except what is found along the Panther creek, but most parts of the township are near enough either to the North or South Raccoon rivers and their heavy timber belts to make timber quite convenient and easily accessible to all parts of the township.

     The beautiful tract of farming land contained in this township cannot easily be excelled.

     It contains both high rolling prairie and beautiful fertile valley land, well drained and sufficiently watered by springs, and running streams. It is not a very old settled township but shows thrift and enterprise on every hand, and has a good many large, well improved farms, which produce immense yields of corn and other crops, and the farmers are now beginning to raise and turn off large droves of fat hogs and herds of cattle.

     Some fine tracts of prairie are yet found, that have never been brought under cultivation, being held principally by eastern speculators, which has held the township back somewhat in its progress and settlement; but the time is not far distant, doubtless, when all these vacant prairie lands will change hands, and be brought under cultivation, and when Colfax will be numbered among the thickly-settled townships of Danas county. The extension of the Des Moines, Adel & Western narrow-gauge railroad passes through the southern part of this township down through a beautiful, fertile valley, which extends from a little west of Adel on toward the Middle Raccoon river, and affords a valuable tract of farming land of great fertility.

     During all the early years of the county, and in fact until quite recently, the territory now included in Colfax township was mostly attached to Adel, with occasional strips being cut off and attached to other adjoining townships, accordingly as the increase of settlement demanded, and it was not until January 4, 1869, that, it was set off by itself and constituted a township with its present boundaries, as shown by the following order of the supervisors, which appears on record under the above date:

     Ordered, That all that portion of congressional township, No, 79, range 28, heretofore included in the township of Union, and all that portion of said township 79. range 28, heretofore included in the township of Adel be detached from said townships of Union and Adel, and that said congressional township No. 79, range 28, shall constitute a new township, to be called and known as Colfax township. And it is further ordered that John Tyre be appointed to post notices of the organization of said township, in pursuance of the statute in 8uch case made and provided.

     The above order cut off from Union the four sections previously annexed for school purposes (May 9, 1859), and all the rest of said congressional township from Adel, and constituted the new township of Colfax at the same time that Van Meter and Adams townships were organized, and also cut Adel township down to its present form.

     Among the first settlers in Colfax township were William Franks, Jackson Franks, Willis Franks, William Loper, John Tyer, J. N. Ludington, and John Metz, an of whom came in at quite an early day, and with energy and perseverance have succeeded in making themselves comfortable homes, and greatly advancing the cultivation and improvement of their township. There are two church organizations in the township. The M. E. Church has no building erected yet, but hold their meetings in the Tice schoolhouse, and their membership now numbers thirty-four. They will probably build a house of worship soon. (See the account of this church as given by the pastor, Rev. David Shenton, under the history of the Adel M. E. church.)

     The German Baptist Church is located on section 4, Colfax township, and is called the Panther Creek Church.

     The association was organized in the fall of 1869, with Christian Long as Bishop. The members at that time were as follows: His wife, son and daughter, Henry Stitzel and wife, John B. Diehl and wife, Henry Miller and wife, Jacob Rowland and wife, Emanuel Couchenour and wife.

     Their meetings were held regularly each Sunday at different places unti1 the building of their church, which occurred in the spring of 1873. They have a commodious and well constructed edifice, capable of seating about 500 people. It was built at a cost of about $1,400.

     Their present membership is from 70 to 75, and the church is in a flourishing condition.

     In February, 1877, Mr. Robert Badger succeeded Mr. Long, which place he fills with credit to himself and satisfaction to his people.

     The township has two good county bridges over the Panther creek, one near Mr. Ludington's and one near Mr. Foster's, besides several others of minor importance.

     It also has one post-office, called Panther Creek post-office.

     With this one within its bounds, and Adel and Redfield so near, all parts are conveniently situated for receiving and sending mail matter.

     The first election held in Colfax township was, perhaps, in the spring of 1869, soon after the order was issued for its organization; and the township officers elected at the last election, 1878, were:

The township has nine good school-houses, and as many good schools.

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