Tama County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Crystal Township

Taken from the History of Tama County, Iowa Its Cities, Towns and Villages
Early Reminiscences, Personal Incidents and Anecdotes,
And A Complete Business Directory Of The County
By Samuel D. Chapman 1879

Contributed by Patty Delmott and Transcribed by Cyndi Vertrees

Crystal, one of the finest agricultural townships of the County, joins Spring Creek wupon the east, Perry on the west and is bounded on the north by Grant, on the sought by Howard.

Wolf Creek flows directly through it from west to east and with its numberous tributaries renders it well watered. Along Wolf Creek there are several fine groves of natural timber, while numerous large and beautiful plantations of trees add to the scenic effect.

The township was formed in 1857 by an order issued by J. C. Vermilya, then County Judge, to J. S. Bishop directing him to call an election. It was a separation from Buckingham township and the formation of Crystal. The first township election was held at the residence of Nelson Felter on the first Monday in April, A. D. 1857. The township was named by Mrs. C. L. Davis from the Crystalline purity of the air.

Nelson Felter and family were the first settlers in the township. They removed from Cook Co., Ill., in 1854 and settled upon section 15. A rude log house 16 by 18 feet was erected upon the banks of Wolf Creek in which the family resided several years, enjoying health and happiness.

In the course of a few years a number of families had settled around them, among whom we mention J. S. Bishop, V. Shultz, J. W. McGune, A. Quinn, M. Martin, Robert Wylie, a. D. Hoag, J. S. Townsend, C. L. Davis. These settled in various parts of the township, each erecting a rude cabin or rail pen poorly roofed and without floors as a temporary shelter. The first child born was Lyman Felter.

The first school was taught in the Bishop school house by Miss Nettie M. Cyrenus.

Religious meetings were first held at the house of J. S. Bishop by an intinerant Methodist preacher. In the year 1856, a society was organized called the Salem Presbyterian Church, with Robert Wylie and J. S. Townsend as ruling members. The society has been in prosperous existence to the present time. The number of members enrolled at its organization were 15, at present the membership numbers 66. The first minister was Rev. W. J. Lyons. A Sunday School was organized about the same time with D. S. Dickey as Superintendent.

The township cemetery was largely laid out upon one of the highest and most beautiful hills in the vicinity. It is well cared for and contains some tasteful monuments. The land was donated by C. L. Davis.

The first burial was a little daughter of J. S. and P. Bishop.

Many amusing incidents and experiences of the early settlers might be given did space permit we give only the following.

Live stock and provisions were exceedingly scarce among the early residents and many schemes were resorted to in order to make the limited supply go round. Gilbert McMillen had a number of nice young hogs but was without corn; one Jas. Vertrees came to him and proposed that as M. had plenty of hogs and no corn, while he had corn and no hogs, they combine and raise hogs upon the shares, he would take the shoats and fatten them and give M. one half of the pork.

The proposal was accepted and Vertrees accordingly took home two of the shoats. In about a week he killed one of these and according to contract divided it, splitting it from the nose to the end of the tail and sending home one half to M. As the side of pork was not much thicker than a board it suddenly dawned upon M. that there was something thin about the contract as the time of “feeding out” seemed decidedly short.

Crystal postoffice was established in 1868, and at the same time a store was built by James Aitchinson. It is now owned and kept by J. M. foster.

There is also a blacksmith and wagon shop at the same place owned by J. S. Gethman and another in the south west corner of the township owned by Frank Frohm who has also a hotel and dancing hall which is quite a resort for the German settlers.

Crystal township is noted for the number of its fine stock. West Wilson has a large herd of thoroughbreds and grades while many others are entering more or less extensively into the business of fine stock raising.

There are many heavy tax payers among the farmers of Crystal. Men who, although they came to the country with limited means, have acquired wealth and a competence by honest hard labor. We have space to mention only J. S. Townsend, Peter and Thos. Whannel, and West Wilson.

We glean the following officers form the Clerk’s books.

Justices: - R. Wylie, W. Wilson, J. S. bishop, W. Guilford, O. J. Rice, R. J. Hall, J. B. Wylie, J. A. Plunk, A. Wheatly, G. McCune, W. McTurk, P. Quinn.

Clerks: - J. S. Townsend, J. S. Bishop, w. Wilson, J. A. Bowdle, R. J. Hall, G. McCune, J. D. Hall, W. Wilson, J. R. Felter, A. Whearley, N. W. Morton, E. Lynde.

Trustees: - J. W. McCune, R. Wylie, O. Burright, N. Felter, R. R. Chambers, C. L. Davis, J. Vertrees, L. Loupee, G. McMillen, O. J. Rice, P. Quinn, J. Morton, S. Reed, J. S. Townsend, R. J. Hall, r. Crawford, J. B. Hill, G. McCune, J. B. Wylie, J. B. M. Bishop, T. Whannel, W. McTurk, O. P. Jones, J. Black.

Back To Township Histories