Lincoln Township History

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

   This township is the second one from the north in the west tier of townships in Dallas county, and is known in the government surveys as congressional township 78, north of range 28, west of the 5th principal meridian.

     It has no river passing through it, but is very well supplied with two running streams of considerable size, which afford plenty of water and drainage. The Mosquito flows full length of the township, north and south, down through the west half, and Panther creek nearly full length of the township from north to south through the east half, flowing out at the southeast corner into Colfax township, thus leaving a strip north and south of excellent agricultural land, from three to four miles in width lying between these two streams, nicely rolling and well located, with another strip a little more than the width of one section full length of the west side of the township, on the west side of Mosquito Creek, and another on the east <side of Panther creek nearly the full length of the township, about one or two miles wide; all of pretty much the same quality of farming land.

     A large amount of the land in Lincoln township is not yet under cultivation, as it was among the last townships settled and organized in the county, and the settlement before its organization was not very extensive, except in a few localities.

     Much of the wild land in the township is held by speculators and capitalists, who do not live here, and, as a consequence, not nearly the improvements have been made that would otherwise have been, though there are now a good many large and well-improved farms in the township, and during the past few years it has been making very encouraging progress in the line of settlement and cultivation. It has very little timber within its bounds, except what is found along the two streams above mentioned, and especially along Mosquito creek, which stream has in some places quite a strip of timber along its banks, consisting chiefly in soft maple, elm and swamp ash; and formerly a good many white ash grew along its banks, but these have mostly all been cut off and used by the first settlers, so that few traces of them now remain.

     This stream is also well supplied with fish of the small varieties, and plenty of coal is found all along it during its entire length through the township, rendering the coal abundant and convenient to the settlers in all parts of the township. There are also strong indications of coal occurring further up along this stream, but no veins of any importance have yet been opened above the township line. One surface vein within the bounds of Lincoln, on Mosquito Creek, has been opened a number of years since, and is being worked to some extent. It is from twenty inches to two feet thick where it has been opened, and yields unusually hard coal, not of the best quality and rather difficult to be mined, as it is only done by stripping.

     The highest point of the cut is about 24 feet. The outcrop of coal was first discovered by George Martin and Lem. Southerland while passing along the stream and the vein was afterward opened. There is evidently much more and better coal to be found at no great depth under this, but no special efforts have yet been made to discover it.

     The township now has eight good school-houses within its bounds, in all of which good schools are kept during the average school months each year; and for a while the township had strong prospects of a narrow gauge railroad passing through its northern portion, the proposed Des Moines & Western R. R., before mentioned. (See railroads.)

     It has no town within its bounds, but has one post-office, called Brough P.O., on section 9.

     By the general division of the county into precincts in 1850, the present territory of Lincoln township formed part of Buena Vista precinct, and by the general division of the county again into townships February 2, 1851, Lincoln became part of Iowa township. It remained as the north half of Iowa township for a little more than a year, when, March 2, 1858, it was made part of Washington township, and thus it remained until June 3, 1867, when it was cut off from Washington and constituted as a township of itself by the following action of the board of supervisors, as appears on the minutes under the above date:

     Petition presented by Powell and others asking that a new township be formed of the west part of the present Washington township, to-wit: Township No. (80) eighty, range No. (29) twenty-nine.

     By motion the township was organized; to be called Lincoln township.

     Resolved, That the clerk of the board be, and he is hereby, directed to issue a warrant as contemplated by chapter thirty of the Revision of 1860, for the organization of the township of Lincoln, Dallas county, Iowa, and that said warrant be directed to J. R. Powell, to carry into effect this resolution; and that by said warrant said election be ordered to be held at the .school-house of district No.3, in said township, on the regular election day in October, A. D. 1867.

     The above action settled Lincoln in its present form, bounded by the congressional township lines, and no record appears of any important change in its boundary lines having occurred since that date.

     J. R. Powell, now of Panora, Guthrie county, was, perhaps, the first settler in Lincoln township, who settled at an early day on section 18, near the west side of the township and county, and who was instrumental in getting the organization completed when it was.

     It appears from the order that the first election in the township was held in October, 1867, and we understand that there were only about the required number of voters then living in the township-about seven or eight, all told. For a long time after Mr. Powell settled there he was about the only occupant of that part of the county, but was afterward joined by others, whose names we have been unable to ascertain; and it has now grown to be quite a settlement in different parts of the township.

     It has now eight school-houses, only lacking one of the allotted number to each township; and before many years, doubtless, the increasing population will require the ninth.

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