Spring Valley Township History

This township is the second one from the west in the north tier of townships in Dallas county, and is known in the government surveys as congressional township 81, north of range 28, west of the 5th principal meridian.

In the general division into precincts, in March, 1850, this was also, part of Buena Vista precinct, and in March, 1856, it was made to form a part of Dallas township. It remained in this shape and connection during the general division into townships, February 2, 1857, and until the division of Dallas township was made, September 6, 1858, when Spring Valley wa8 first organized as a township, as shown by the following order of the court, made that date:

Now, on this day, comes J. H. Roberts and others, and file a petition praying for the formation of a new township in the township of Dallas.

Whereupon it was ordered that the district of country included in the following bounds shall constitute the township of Spring Valley: Township No. eighty-one (81), north of range No. twenty-eight (28). The first election to be held at J. Chiles.
No record appears of any important change having been made in its boundary lines since that date, and it still remains bounded by the congressional lines of township eighty-one, range twenty-eight, west of the 5th principal meridian.

The North Raccoon river enters Spring Valley township near the northwest corner, and flows diagonally through it to the southeast, passing out at the south side, about two miles west of the southeast corner of the township; and Beaver creek flows across the northeast corner of the township, cutting off about two sections of land. These streams furnish the township with plenty of timber, coal, building materials and mill privileges, and are spanned by several good bridges; one large wooden frame bridge east of Perry, across the North Raccoon river. There is also one good water-power grist mill on the North Raccoon, near the south part of the township, owned by Henry Thornburgh, and known as "Thornburgh's Mill".

It was originally built as a saw mill, and some seven years afterward the present grist mill was built on the same site. It has three run of stone, two for grinding wheat and one for corn, and is doing a fine home custom work. There is also a steam mill at Perry, owned by Otis & Selby Brothers, which is doing a good business, especially for all the northern part of the township and surrounding country, drawing the custom more or less from abroad, as the people come into Perry to trade, and dispose of their produce.

The land in this township is pretty much all taken up and under good cultivation and improvement.

This township has only one post-office, which is at Perry.

Though there is considerable timber land, and some rough land along the river and creek passing through, there is still a predominance of valuable and fertile farming land in the township, and many large well-improved stock and grain farms. Having a good railroad and one enterprising town in their midst, the citizens of Spring Valley largely partake of the same spirit of enterprise, and are constantly pushing general cultivation and improvement along in a most encouraging and commendable manner.

Perry, the only town within its limits, is one of the most live, thrifty, prosperous towns in the county, and quite naturally sheds the same influence abroad throughout the township, and the effects are becoming quite visible on all the surrounding community, The Des Moines & Fort Dodge R. R. extends diagonally through the township from southeast to northwest, entering the township near the southeast corner, and passing out about two miles east of the northwest corner, leaving the town of Perry a little north of the center, and thus convenient to all parts of the township, giving them an excellent market and trading-point right at home.

Spring Valley is an independent school district and has nine schoolhouses within its limits, besides the schools at Perry, which receive due attention under sketch of the town.

The first settlement in Spring Valley township was made by Dutch Henry in the spring of 1848, on what afterward became the William Elder farm, situated west of the North Raccoon river, not far from the present site of Perry. Dutch Henry, however, did not remain very long in possession of that claim, as he suddenly found occasion to disappear entirely from this part of the country, on account of the, to him, unwelcome presence of Ira Sherman, the wool grower at the house-raising, as before related; leaving his claim and improvements to be occupied and enjoyed by others. He had first settled in Sugar Grove township before going to the above mentioned claim.

Cornelius McKeon, Esq. settled in Spring Valley township not long after Dutch Henry's settlement. The above was a son of one of the McKeons who settled near the mouth of Panther creek, in Adams township, a short time previous. Not long after he settled in Spring Valley, numerous others came in and joined him, among whom may be mentioned Judge Thornburgh, Harvey Willis, John McMillen, Michael Shively, Wilson Minor, Jesse Bramfield and others.

This township soon increased quite rapidly in settlement, and has become one of the finest townships in the county.

The farmers are engaged quite extensively in raising stock, for which the township is well adapted, being admirably watered and supplied with farming and pasture land; and having a good railroad passing through gives the citizens a good shipping point at Perry, not far from the center of the township.

The first election in the township was perhaps the one held at the house of J. Chiles in the fall of 1858.

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