Linn Township History

This township is the second one from the south in the west tier of townships in Dallas County, and is known in the government surveys as congressional township 79, north of range 29, west of the 5th principal meridian.

The Middle Raccoon River passes through the southwest corner of this township, and the Mosquito Creek flows almost centrally through it in a winding course from north to south, the two streams thus abundantly supplying it with water, wood, coal, stone, and mill sites. It has fine farming land, and a good many valuable farms, being quite an old settled township, especially in the southern part and along the Mosquito Creek.

 As shown by the orders regarding the changes in Union Township, the present territory of Linn Township was also a part of Owens precinct, in 1850, and afterward formed part of Union Township until February 2, 1857, when it was cut off from Union and united with what is now Lincoln Township, to form Iowa Township, as shown by the order of the county court forming Iowa Township.

It remained in this connection as part of Iowa Township a little more than a year, when it was settled in its present form as bounded by the congressional township lines, by order given March 2, 1858, by the county court:

In May, 1859. a slight change was made in the boundary lines when the east half of section 36 was cut off from the southeast corner of Linn and attached to Union ownship for school purposes.

After this only one order on record changing the boundary lines of Linn, and that made June 7, 1870, by the board of county supervisors.  It was ordered that all the territory included within congressional township No. seventy-nine (79), north of range twenty-nine (29), west of the 5th P. M., Iowa, shall constitute the Township of Linn.  What this order did was to restore to Linn its lost half section which had been attached to Union Township for school purposes.

Linn is one of the thrifty townships in the county, and shows marked indications of enterprise and industry on the part of its citizens.

It was perhaps first settled by Samuel Carpenter, about 1848-9, who selected his home just across the line from Union Township, in the southern part of Linn. About the same. time,  or soon afterward, James Brooks , Thomas Elliott and perhaps others, settled in that vicinity, and a few years later the settlement was materially increased.

About 1850-1 James Harper and his son W. W. Harper , William Maulsby , Judge Jamison , I saac Fee , and others, made settlements in the township.

Mr. Fee is among the very few first settlers of the township now living in it. He settled in 1851 on section 34, where he still lives, and to him we are indebted for much important information regarding the early settlement of the township.

 Among the early settlers who came about the same time and soon after Mr. Fee, also, were Abner Hill, George Bailey, George Duck, Mr. Howell, Abner Hill, Joel and Isaac Davis, Seth Pattee, Squire Lumpkins, W. M. Thornburg and sons, and others. These latter are known rather as the second settlement in the township.

The settlement in the south part of the township increased quite rapidly during the few years following, and soon good improvements were made for those times, though the early settlers in these parts, like those in other localities, were compelled to endure severe trials and hardships for many years, in order to secure and prepare themselves homes, and very few of the first ones now remain here to enjoy them.

The great floods that occurred during several seasons, did considerable damage, especially to those living along and near the river and other streams, and greatly hindered them in their work of improvement, there being no bridges or means of crossing during high water, except on rafts and canoes extemporized for the occasion, and many dangerous adventures were made with these.

During the spring of 1852, Mr. Fee tells us, a heavy fall of rain continued for a long time, swelling the streams, completely flooding the bottom lands, and keeping the citizens for a long time from doing anything toward their spring work, and rendering it almost impossible to cross the streams to mill and market, and compelling them to do the best they could by dividing up what little remained in the neighborhood, and patiently waiting until the flood was gone.

This flood was the means of destroying some good farms along the river bottoms by seeding them to cottonwood groves.

There is now a cottonwood grove, containing, perhaps, forty acres or more, near the mouth of Mosquito C reek, just below Mr. Fee's farm, which Mr. Fee tells us was planted by that flood. He also says that the year previous there was a crop of corn raised on it that would average 75 or 80 bushels per acre. But after it was so flooded and seeded it was left idle, and became thickly set with cottonwoods, which now make a dense and beautiful grove, many of the trees now measuring from eighteen to twenty inches in diameter, with a growth of 26 or 27 years.

The timber is quite valuable for lumber, and while frozen, splits easily into rails and cord-wood, and when well seasoned makes very good rails, but is of not much account when used green or near the ground, being easily rotted.

Mr. Fee also has a similar grove near his house, which was started in the same way, and which he has taken great pains in pruning and cultivating, so that it is now a nice ornament, and yields him considerable wood and lumber.

The township is generally well timbered, and well watered, and has at least five good coal mines now opened and being worked to some extent, known as Maulsby's, Bailey's, Howell's, George Duck's and D. Lewis's coal banks.

The township also has one good water-power grist mill situated on the bank of the Middle Raccoon River, near the southwest corner of the township, known as Harvey's Mill, and owned by O. M. Owens .

The old mill was built on this site some twenty-two years ago, by William Harvey , and the new one was built about 1875, and is doing a good local business. There is also a saw-mill in connection with the grist-mill, both run by the same power.

Linn township is well supplied with post-offices, having three, Greenvale, Linn, and Harvey's Mills post-office; and has nine good school-houses.

There is one frame bridge across the Middle Raccoon at Harvey's Mills, 132 feet long, one across Mosquito C reek, just above the mouth, 75 feet long, and three others across the same stream further up within the township limits, each about 60 feet long, mostly all built by Peppard , at the expense of the county.

The township has no railroad yet but the grade of the Des Moines, Adel and Western narrow-gauge passes through the southwest corner of the township, entering on section 34, and passing out at the west side on section 18, and the township have strong hopes that before another year passes the cars will be running on this grade. Dexter is at present its nearest market, but before long it will doubtless have one within its own bounds, with Redfield also a short distance south.

A good many well-improved stock and grain farms are found in the southern part of the township, and along either side of the Mosquito Creek for some distance up, and numerous fine orchards are beginning' to bear quite extensively. The greater part of the prairie land in the township is now under cultivation except some in the northeastern portion.

This township has one church within its borders, a Methodist Episcopal church, situated on section 20, and called the Brethren M. E. Church, which was organized about 1866; and as nearly as we can learn, the organizing members were about as follows: J. Laubach , Mrs. Sarah Laubach , Mrs. Elizabeth Bailey , Mrs. Catharine Thornburgh , Elizabeth North , Mrs. Sarah Duck and Rebecca Boher . Rev. W. Abraham was the preacher in charge, and the organization was a ttached to the Des Moines Conference. For, some time before this organization a class had been formed in this vicinity, and also, one west in Guthrie County, which had occasional services at private houses and elsewhere, as they could, until the above date, when these two classes were united under one organization, about 1866, constituting the Brethren church as above mentioned. After the organization was effected, they first worshiped in a school-house, and in 1874, the present church building was erected at a cost of $1,800, and dedicated free from debt. It is a neat, new, comfortable building, and is well filled by appreciative audiences on occasions of their regular meetings. The pastors who succeeded Rev, W. Abraham, are: Rev. J. W. Adair , Rev. A. Badley , Rev. John Hestwood , Rev. Ofling , Rev. J. W. Adair , and Rev. W. H. Burke , the present pastor. Services are held every Sabbath.

The present trustees of this church are John E. Lisle, J. Laubach, J. A. Bailey, J. W. Duck, and Joseph Lisle.

The stewards are Joseph Lisle and J. Laubach.

The church has been blessed with several revivals, and the active membership at this time is about sixty. The church building is located in the northeast part of the northwest quarter of section 20, township 79, range 29, near the west side of Linn Township, Dallas County, Iowa.

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