Townships

Boomer Township


Settlements

Location

Physical description of the site

“Running springs were located in Sec. 26.”(1) The township is mostly prairie land with some small groves in the south and central part of the township, and a large grove on the southwestern edge of the township.(2)

 Is it located within another township?

It is the township itself. “What was once known as ‘Bybee’s Camp’ is now [1883] included in the farms owned and occupied by William McKeown, L. S. Axtell and George Drake.”(3)

Any unique features such as located by a creek, river, etc.

The North Pigeon and Pigeon Creeks flow through this township.(4)

History

When was it established?

The township survey was done in August, October, and November 1851. The township was not officially established until 8 June 1858; formerly, it was part of Rockford Township. (5)

Who were the early residents?

The earliest residents of Boomer Township were Mormon pioneers, the first of which was Lee Bybee. Others came and settled near him temporarily, creating the community known as Bybee’s Camp. Mr. Bybee arrived in 1847, and the others came in the winter of 1847-48. They built “fifteen houses . . . on the north of Pigeon Creek.”(6) One of the early residents was a Latter-day Saint named Joseph Nicholas, who had marched in Zion’s Camp.(7)

Did it have other names?

It was part of Rockford Township prior to 1858, but ever since then, the township has been Boomer.

How were the names established?

The name of Boomer has a funny origin. “Those principally interested in securing the organization of the township were Judge Hall and I. M. Sigler . . . Judge Sherman was the County Judge who made the order constituting the township. Inasmuch as it would, when constituted, be an overwhelmingly Democratic township, it was proposed to flavor it with an equally strong Republican designation, and to call it after the Hon. D. C. Bloomer, of Council Bluffs. In finally deciding this matter, Judge Sherman concluded to strike out the ‘l,’ and thus called it Boomer, a title the organization has ever since held.”(8)

When did the Mormons arrive?

They first arrived in 1847.(9)

Were there any unique contributions or events during their stay?

The pioneers held school in Bybee’s Camp the first winter they lived there (1847-48). Josiah L. Deforest taught the students. He “afterward died in Harrison county.”(10)“The first birth, death and marriage in the township occurred in this camp. It is impossible now to give the names of the parties in the first birth and the first death, but the first marriage was a double one, and took place in the spring of 1848. The parties in the one instance were William McKeown and Miss Eliza Jane Hall; in the other, Ezekiel Cheeny and Miss Lucy Hardy. The latter subsequently went to Salt Lake City, and were lost sight of.”(11)

The following represents descriptions of pioneer life in general in the time period shortly after the Latter-day Saints’ removal from Bybee’s Camp. Likely, the hardships described applied to the Saints at one time or another also.

“Mrs. Mackland . . . [made] Keg Creek her abode for several years, going to Boomer to live in 1855. Her experience was that of most persons settling in a new country and having only moderate means. Privations they were compelled to endure, as neighbors and comforts, under the circumstances, were few and far between. Even the commonest necessaries of life, such as the frontier ordinarily afforded, were not of the most abundant. It often fell out that corn-meal could only be had by grating the corn, instead of grinding it. Their home was a log cabin, and this was the only style of dwelling in the settlement, where handsome and comfortable houses, fine barns and cultivated fields have replaced the rude culture of the frontier. With all their discomforts, the social life of the pioneers was of the most pleasant character. There was no meanness nor stinginess in their intercourse. Each shared with the other the little they had. The long winter nights were frequently whiled away in log cabin dances, when the buildings would fairly shake in the liveliness and zest of those who thus enjoyed themselves. There was little of what was called ‘style’ in those days. Putting on airs was entirely out of place, and the little community was thoroughly democratic in its social aspects. Game was still abundant in on the prairies and in the timber. The streams abounded in fish; and at night the howl of the wolf, as he prowled around, was a species of music not of the most assuring, but still not indicative of any danger.”(12)

“William McKeown . . . came to Pottawattamie County in 1847, and was at Bybee’s Camp that winter. Was married May 9, 1848, also in this township, and has lived here ever since. His wife was Miss Eliza Jane Hall. She had come with her brother from Indiana in 1847. . . . When here for some time there was no money to be obtained, so they worked for anything they could get—harvesting for a bushel of corn a day, and used a sickle. Their first house was made of logs, 14x16 feet, and covered with split boards. The first year or two, but little prairie was broken, because they did not have the teams, but would go where the timber was light and cut it off, then one yoke of cattle could break it. The cultivating was done with a single shovel mostly, some working a horse, others an ox. Their milling first was at the old Indian mill on the Mosquito, but, in 1849, a mill was built on Pigeon Creek in Hazel Dell Township, and then they went to it. Some stores having been opened up, their supplies soon came from Council Bluffs, but the first season they crossed the river to a settlement on the Nebraska side, where there was a store." (13)

Did the town have a Frontier Guardian representative, if so who?

No, no Frontier Guardian agent worked here.

Describe any unique community setup or buildings

In the winter of 1847 and 1848, Bybee’s Camp held a school. While this is not unique to Bybee’s Camp, the fact that the schoolmaster Josiah L. Deforest is listed as “Schoolmaster” under the heading, “Profession, Occupation, or Trade . . .” in the United States Federal Census of 1850 suggests that this was a professional school. Likely, Deforest received payment from or boarded with the parents of the students. The professional nature of the school is unique. (14)

Cemeteries

Location of early burials

“Grange cemetery is often referred to as ‘ Boomer Township’ and is located in Section 28, SW corner of NW ¼ in Boomer Township. It is a large, well kept active cemetery, and the majority of the early township settlers were buried here.”(15)

Dates established

“The Boomer Grange Society was organized 31 May 1873.”(16)

 Any special stories of facts concerning the cemetery

“Sixteen acres of ground was purchased by John Page for the cemetery. On 2 January 1884 the Grange Society gave up the organization. It was reorganized and in 1890 became the Boomer Cemetery Association. In 1899 a 24 x 50 foot building was built to be used for church and funeral services and for community purposes. It was known as the Grange Cemetery Church. In 1916 a barn was added, but with the coming of the automobile it was no longer needed and was sold. The church was torn down in 1971.”(17)


Notes

  1. Surveyor’s record, Pottawattamie County Historical Society, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  2. “History of Boomer Township,” The Frontier Chronicle (vol. 3, no. 4, Oct.-Dec. 1997), back cover.
  3. History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Containing a History from the earliest settlement to the present time, embracing its topographical, geological, physical and climatic features; its agricultural, railroad interests, etc.; giving an account of its aboriginal inhabitants, early settlement by the whites, pioneer incidents, its growth, its improvements, organization of the County, the judicial history, the business and industries, churches, schools, etc.; Biographical Sketches; Portraits of some of the Early Settlers, Prominent Men, etc. (Chicago: O. L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers, 1883), part one, 274.
  4. “History of Boomer Township,” The Frontier Chronicle (vol. 3, no. 4, Oct.-Dec. 1997), back cover.
  5. “History of Boomer Township,” The Frontier Chronicle (vol. 3, no. 4, Oct.-Dec. 1997), 2.
  6. “History of Boomer Township,” The Frontier Chronicle (vol. 3, no. 4, Oct.-Dec. 1997), 2.
  7. Joseph Smith, Jr., et. alt., History of the Church, 2:183.
  8. History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Containing a History from the earliest settlement to the present time, embracing its topographical, geological, physical and climatic features; its agricultural, railroad interests, etc.; giving an account of its aboriginal inhabitants, early settlement by the whites, pioneer incidents, its growth, its improvements, organization of the County, the judicial history, the business and industries, churches, schools, etc.; Biographical Sketches; Portraits of some of the Early Settlers, Prominent Men, etc., part one, 274.
  9. History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa. . Containing a History from the earliest settlement to the present time, embracing its topographical, geological, physical and climatic features; its agricultural, railroad interests, etc.; giving an account of its aboriginal inhabitants, early settlement by the whites, pioneer incidents, its growth, its improvements, organization of the County, the judicial history, the business and industries, churches, schools, etc.; Biographical Sketches; Portraits of some of the Early Settlers, Prominent Men, etc. , part one, 273.
  10. Homer H. Field and Joseph R. Reed, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa from the Earliest Historic Times to 1907; also biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1907), 184; United States Federal Census, 1850.
  11. History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa. . Containing a History from the earliest settlement to the present time, embracing its topographical, geological, physical and climatic features; its agricultural, railroad interests, etc.; giving an account of its aboriginal inhabitants, early settlement by the whites, pioneer incidents, its growth, its improvements, organization of the County, the judicial history, the business and industries, churches, schools, etc.; Biographical Sketches; Portraits of some of the Early Settlers, Prominent Men, etc., part one, 273-274.
  12. History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa. . Containing a History from the earliest settlement to the present time, embracing its topographical, geological, physical and climatic features; its agricultural, railroad interests, etc.; giving an account of its aboriginal inhabitants, early settlement by the whites, pioneer incidents, its growth, its improvements, organization of the County, the judicial history, the business and industries, churches, schools, etc.; Biographical Sketches; Portraits of some of the Early Settlers, Prominent Men, etc., part one, 274-275.
  13. History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa. . Containing a History from the earliest settlement to the present time, embracing its topographical, geological, physical and climatic features; its agricultural, railroad interests, etc.; giving an account of its aboriginal inhabitants, early settlement by the whites, pioneer incidents, its growth, its improvements, organization of the County, the judicial history, the business and industries, churches, schools, etc.; Biographical Sketches; Portraits of some of the Early Settlers, Prominent Men, etc., part two, 79.
  14. History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa. . Containing a History from the earliest settlement to the present time, embracing its topographical, geological, physical and climatic features; its agricultural, railroad interests, etc.; giving an account of its aboriginal inhabitants, early settlement by the whites, pioneer incidents, its growth, its improvements, organization of the County, the judicial history, the business and industries, churches, schools, etc.; Biographical Sketches; Portraits of some of the Early Settlers, Prominent Men, etc., part one, 274.
  15. “History of Boomer Township,” The Frontier Chronicle (vol. 3, no. 4, Oct.-Dec. 1997), 5.
  16. http://www.geosities.com/Heartland/Plains/5660/boomer.htm#boom1
  17. http://www.geosities.com/Heartland/Plains/5660/boomer.htm#boom1

Return to Map


Center Township


Settlements

Location

Physical description of the site

“Center Township was taken off from Knox Township by a line beginning at the southeast corner of Township 76, Range 39, thence north on the Congressional township line to the northeast corner of Section 25, in 76, Range 39; thence west on the section line to the northwest corner of Section 30; thence north on the Congressional township line to the Nishnabotna River, and all that part of Congressional Township 76, Range 20, lying west of the Nishnabotna River.”(1)

Center Township is located in Township 75 N, Range 39 W.(2)

“The brief summary notes made by Mr. Starr were, ‘The surface of this Township is generally rolling, good soil and well watered. There is little timber.’”(3)

 Any unique features such as located by a creek, river, etc.

“The main streams are Second, or Graybill, creek and Jordan.”(4)

History

When was it established?

“The exterior survey of this Township was completed in July 1851 by Deputy Surveyor John Conkey. . . . In November of the same year Jacob K. Starr, Deputy Surveyor, made the subdivision survey.”(5)

Who were the early residents?

“The earliest settlers were Joshua C. Layton, who arrived on the 2 nd of April, 1852; Reuben Mains who came in 1855; Joseph Layton, Jacob Rust and Joseph Darnell, who arrived in 1854; Louis Huff, Benjamin Palmer, Charles S. Robinson, Thomas, Ephraim and William McKee, in 1856.

“Joseph Darnell located near Big Grove. He and his wife were the first to have a child born in Center Township however, both died and in 1860 . . . Joseph went West. He was last known to have been residing in California.

“Benjamin Palmer moved into Knox Township, where he died in April of 1882, and Jacob Rust removed to Belknap Township settling in the town of Oakland, but not before he had the honor of serving as the first Justice of the Peace in Center Township.”(6)

Louis Huff was [an] . . . early settler to Center Township. . . . Louis lived in his native state [ North Carolina] until 1828 after which he removed to Monmouth, Warren County, Illinois. It was in this state where he married Susan Palmer at the end of the year of 1830. . . . Susan died on May 20, 1874, and Mr. Huff married a second time on August 5, 1875, to Mrs. J. D. Rust whose maiden name was Morris.

“The latter marriage was conducted in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, as Louis had removed to this area in 1853. He first arrived in Council Bluffs and with oxen and horses he moved his effects, in three wagons, to Center Township settling in Section 18, Township 75, Range 39.”(7)

Although the history above says the first settler arrived in 1852, the author must have been referring to the first permanent settler, or else he did not know about the following information, referring to Mr. Starr, the Deputy Surveyor who did the internal survey of Center Township: “[In his] field notes he definitely locates the settler cabins and cultivated fields of Thomas Duby, Henderson, John Henderson and Joseph Moore.”(8) Obviously, then, someone was living in the township by November 1851, which is when the survey was made. Not only did the pioneer have a cabin built, he had been in the township long enough to cultivate ground, too.

Did it have other names?

Center Township used to be part of Knox Township.(9)

When did the Mormons arrive?

Likely, the earliest settler or settlers who lived in Center Township before 1852 were Latter-day Saints, though no proof of such a claim is extant.(10)

Although various sources say a pioneer named Jordan, who built the first mill in the township, was “a Mormon,” he was probably affiliated with one of the splinter churches rather than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.(11) The majority of members of the latter had either left Iowa or was only passing through briefly on their way to Utah by 1858, the years Jordan built the mill.(12)

There was no Frontier Guardian representative for the township. (13)

Describe any unique community setup or buildings

“The first mill established in the township was on Jordan Creek and run by a Mormon whose name the creek bears. It was very primitive and its capacity extremely limited.

“The three brothers by the name of McKee brought a portable steam saw-mill into the settlement in 1856, and afterward sold it to Joseph Layton and Joseph Donnell, who moved it to the bridge near Big Grove and, while in use, the boiler exploded and totally destroyed the mill.”(14)

“From 1861 to 1864, he [Louis Huff] kept a public house on his farm which was used by numerous people crossing the State either seeking to settle nearby or in distant places further west.”(15)

“[A] wagon road which enters the Township on the west side of Section 51 and proceeds north across Section 30 into Section 19 is mentioned no further [in the original surveyor’s notes,] but it seems logical to assume that it continued north to sections 7 and 6 to serve the small settlement located there.”

 

3. Include any pictures or video clips of the settlement, GPS location, and/or modern driving directions as to location. If after an internet search, interesting sites are discovered, write down the URL so that we can provide a link to it.

http://www.city-data.com/township/Center-Pottawattamie-IA.html

Cemeteries

Location of early burials

Center Township does have the “ Old Center Township Cemetery,” but settlers probably did not start using it until 17 August 1857, when Dr. Minor T. Palmer’s infant child passed away.(16)


Notes:

  1. “The History of Center Township,” The Frontier Chronicle, vol. 9, no. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 2003), 2.
  2. Surveyor’s notes, Frontier Heritage Library, Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society, 622 Fourth Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  3. Surveyor’s notes, Frontier Heritage Library, Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society, 622 Fourth Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  4. Homer H. Field and Joseph R. Reed, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa from the Earliest Historic Times to 1907; also biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1907), 191.
  5. Surveyor’s notes, Frontier Heritage Library, Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society, 622 Fourth Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  6. “The History of Center Township,” The Frontier Chronicle, vol. 9, no. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 2003), 2.
  7. “The History of Center Township,” The Frontier Chronicle, vol. 9, no. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 2003), 3.
  8. Surveyor’s notes, Frontier Heritage Library, Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society, 622 Fourth Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  9. “The History of Center Township,” The Frontier Chronicle, vol. 9, no. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 2003), 2.
  10. Surveyor’s notes, Frontier Heritage Library, Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society, 622 Fourth Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  11. 11. Homer H. Field, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa: From the Earliest Historic Times to 1907 ( Chicago: S. J. Clark, 1907), 191.
  12. Gail Geo. Holmes, Old Coucil Bluff(s): Mormon Developments, 1846-1853, in the Missouri and Platte River Valleys of SW Iowa & E Nebraska, Karen Larsen, ed. (Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha LDS Institute of Religion, 2000), 1; Marsha Pilger, ed., “The History of Kane Township, Pottawattamie County, Iowa,” The Frontier Chronicle (July-September 2001) vol. 7, no. 3, 3; Homer H. Field, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa: From the Earliest Historic Times to 1907 ( Chicago: S. J. Clark, 1907), 9-10; Surveyor’s notes, Frontier Heritage Library, Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society, 622 Fourth Street, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  13. Orson Hyde, ed., Frontier Guardian, 4 April 1851.
  14. “The History of Center Township,” The Frontier Chronicle, vol. 9, no. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 2003), 2.
  15. “The History of Center Township,” The Frontier Chronicle, vol. 9, no. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 2003), 3.
  16. “Center Township Cemeteries,” in http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/5660/center.htm.

Return to Map


Crescent Township


Settlements

Location

“The surveyor[’]s notes as to the physical qualities of the Township are,

‘General description Section 35, 36, 25, 26, 24 and the east ½ of 13 in the high bluffs. Thin barrens Bar Oak. Soil 3 rd rate. Northeast ¼ Section 14 and East ½ of Section 11 high bluffs. No timber Section 1 and 2. Tolerably good timber Bar Oak, Walnut, Elms all the [illegible word] of the Township. Bottom land Sections 30, 31 and 32. Cottonwood, Elm, Walnut and Sycamore, undergrowth of willow. A good limestone quarry upon Northeast Section 34. 50 cabins and farms on the Township. Bluffs from 50 to 200 feet high. Good springs [illegible word] bottom of some.’

“The surveyor states that there are 50 cabins in the Township but in [two illegible words] notes only seven are actually located. The road starting at the [illegible name] cabin leading south into Section 36 is undoubtedly the same road which is mentioned in the survey of Kane and Lake Township which crosses Section [illegible number] of that Township and proceeds to Kanesville. Also note that the surveyor failed to show when the Road to Ferry entered and left Section 28.”(1)

“The territory [that makes up Crescent Township] consisted of congressional township 76, range 42, and township 76, range 43, also a fractional part of township 76, range 44. This included its present territory as well as that of Hazel Dell [Township] and part of Norwalk [Township].”(2)

Crescent Township borders on the Missouri River, encompasses part of the course of the Boyer River, Honey Creek, Pigeon Creek, and includes Honey Creek Lake within its boundaries.(3)

History

“Crescent township was formed on February 12, 1853 from part of Rockford, by a petition signed by A. J. Williams and thirty-seven other citizens of the territory.”(4)

“The first settlers were Mormons who came with the great exodus that halted at Council Bluffs, (IA) and over-flowed into the adjacent territory. Just two miles south of what was destined to be Crescent City, laid the county’s first post office located on the Ellisdale farm. L. J. Goddard was the first postmaster (1856). Ellisdale was a corn, wheat and sugar cane farm of about 1000 acres. Little is really known of [its] history other than the glimpse given by . . . Rufus David Johnson. It is stated ‘one of Johnson’s Mormon wives lived in a mansion at Ellisdale.” The brief existence of the town is a reflection of a pioneer dream of a flourishing town which faded when the railroad selected another location for a river crossing.

“Synonymous as Crescent City’s founding fathers are the names of Joseph Ellis Johnson, Henry A. Terry, S. M. Hough, Samuel Eggleston, L. O. Littlefield, L. J. Goddard, O. H. Dutrow, D. S. Jackson, David Wilding, Robert Kirkwood, William Stang, Joseph McCoid, and R. W. Steele. . . .

“Other early settlers of the area were Alexander Prentiss, Nelson Swanson, W. C. McIntosh (1848), A. B. Boren, C. G. McIntosh, John McIntosh, and William A. Reel.” (5)

Before February 1853, Crescent Township was part of Rockford Township.(6)

“Crescent is a singular name for a township, and yet, when the facts are known and understood, it is not so singular after all. It borders the Missouri River just north of Kane Township and Garner, and therefore lies north of Council Bluffs by approximately six miles. Back from the river several miles are the bluffs which characterize all this region. Because of the shape and form of the valley which reflected a ‘Crescent,’ the City and Town-ship thus derived [its] name.”(7)

Orson Hyde’s Kanesville newspaper, The Frontier Guardian, of 27 June 1849 refers to Little Pigeon as a specific place for the first time. How long before this date people had been living there is uncertain. Once before the June reference, the paper noted the death of a man “‘on Little Pigeon’ in this county [Pottawattamie],” but this reference appears to refer to some location that could have been anywhere along the creek rather than to a settlement.(8)

Several families “renounced allegiance to Brigham Young though still adhering to the faith as expounded by Joseph Smith. These remained here and have proved to be some of our best citizens.

“Among the number were David Wilding, and Englishman, William Strong, Robert Kirkwood, Scotch. H. A. Terry, S. M. Hough and Joseph McCoid were natives of New York.”(9)

“ Terry became widely known by demonstrating that this section of the country was well adapted for fruit growing and that it could be raised profitably by the settlers. In 1856, he organized the first agricultural society and some years later established the first nursery and seed house in this section of the country. He did an extensive business.”(10)

“Henry A. Terry (b. 12 July 1826) and Rachel T. Serine (b. 28 March 1824), [were married] 30 September 1848, by George A. Smith.”(11)

Many of the Mormons who lived in Crescent Township lived in Little Pigeon, and most of these left for Utah in a single wagon train: the Thomas C. D. Howell Company of 1852.(12)

Crescent Township did not have a Frontier Guardian representative, but the settlement of Big Pigeon, which was in Crescent Township, did have a representative. His name was Jeremiah Bingham.(13)

The “First schools [in the township] were kept by the Mormons. Classes were held in the various homes of settlers.”(14)

There was no post office in the township at the time of the Latter-day Saints’ sojourn there, nor did it have its own newspaper.(15)

“The first mill [in the township] was in 1848 and built by Jerome Benton for the use of the settlement in Section 13, on Pigeon Creek. It afterward became the property of H. S. Williams who later abandoned it.”(16)

Those of the Crescent area who chose not to follow Brigham Young to Utah “held religious services just northeast of their small town, in a place known as ‘Harding’ or ‘Mormon Tabernacle.’ Their crude log church was in a cathedral-like valley in Harding Grove on land given by Benjamin Harding. . . . The old tabernacle was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt.”(17)

The “Mormon Tabernacle” mentioned above is almost certainly the same one known as Pigeon Creek Tabernacle. Gail Holmes described Pigeon Creek Tabernacle as being “Two miles north, one mile east of Crescent, Iowa.”(18) This description puts Pigeon Creek Tabernacle in the same place as the “Mormon Tabernacle” in which the people who became members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worshipped. As the above quote says, this “Mormon Tabernacle” was “just northeast of” Crescent.

Cemeteries

Location of early burials

According to Pearl Wilcox in her history of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in southern Iowa, “A burial ground was nearby [the ‘Mormon Tabernacle’ mentioned above], but since the markers were made of wood, it [the burial ground] has long since disappeared.”(19)

“Crescent Cemetery is located in Section 24, Crescent Township, just north of the intersection of G 36 and Highway 183, on the east side of the road. The entrance is marked. It is up and down the hill and some have been ‘tiered’ because of the slope of the hill. It is attractive with trees and shrubs, well kept and active.

“Section ‘F’ appears to be the oldest part of the cemetery, with burials dating 1864, 1866, 1867 and 1869. It is said some of the oldest burials are that of the Mormons who traveled through the area on their way to Utah.”(20) Whether or not the site of Crescent Cemetery is the same as the site of the cemetery mentioned by Wilcox remains uncertain.

    Link to persons that we know are buried there

“Scovill, Joseph, son of Lucius N. and Alice Scovill, [died] 12 October 1849, near Pigeon Tabernacle, of diarrhea, 13 months and 20 days.”(21)


Notes:

  1. Survey Notes, “ Crescent Township,” manuscript, Winter Quarters Project Archives, John A. Widtsoe Building, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
  2. John H. Keatley, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Containing a History from the earliest settlement to the present time, embracing its topographical, geological, physical and climatic features; its agricultural, railroad interests, etc.; giving an account of its aboriginal inhabitants, early settlement by the whites, pioneer incidents, its growth, its improvements, organization of the County, the judicial history, the business and industries, churches, schools, etc.; Biographical Sketches; Portraits of some of the Early Settlers, Prominent Men, etc. (Chicago: O. L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers, 1883), 285-292; Homer H. Field and Joseph R. Reed, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa from the Earliest Historic Times to 1907; also biographical sketches of some prominent citizens of the county (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1907), both of the former works quoted in Marsha Pilger, “History of Crescent Township, Pottawattamie Co., IA.: Reconstructed from the 1882 & 1907 County Histories,” The Frontier Chronicle 4 (1): 2.
  3. Illustrated Atlas of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, 1885, map included in Pilger, The Frontier Chronicle 4 (1): back cover.
  4. Keatley, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa; Field and Reed, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa from the Earliest Historic Times, both of the former works quoted in Pilger, “History of Crescent Township,” 2.
  5. Keatley, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa; Field and Reed, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa from the Earliest Historic Times, both of the former works quoted in Pilger, “History of Crescent Township,” 2.
  6. Keatley, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa; Field and Reed, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa from the Earliest Historic Times, both of the former works quoted in Pilger, “History of Crescent Township,” 2.
  7. Keatley, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa; Field and Reed, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa from the Earliest Historic Times, both of the former works quoted in Pilger, “History of Crescent Township,” 2.
  8. Orson Hyde, ed., The Frontier Guardian ( Kanesville, Iowa) 30 May 1849, in Myrtle Stevens Hyde, Kanesville Conditions (Ogden, Utah: Myrtle Stevens Hyde, 1997), 18.
  9. Homer H. Field, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa : from the earliest historic times to 1907; Also Biographical Sketches of Some Prominent Citizens of the County ( Chicago: S. J. Clark, 1907), 185, see http://iagenweb.org/pottawattamie/Hist-TwpCrescent.htm.
  10. Iowa Writers’ Project, WPA, Southwestern Iowa Guide, 172.
  11. “Pottawatamie High Council Minute Book,” p. 234, quoted in Lyndon W. Cook, comp., Death and Marriage Notices from the Frontier Guardian, 1849-1852 ( Orem, Utah: Center for Research of Mormon Origins, c1990), 23; “The ‘TERRY’S’ of Crescent,” The Frontier Chronicle (January-March 1998) vol. 4, no. 1, 7.
  12. Ronald G. Watts, Iowa Branch Index, 1839-1859 (place: publisher, 1991), 42-43; “Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868: Thomas C. D. Howell Company (1852),” http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneercompanysearchresults/1,15792,4017-1-161,00.html.
  13. Gail Geo. Holmes, Old Council Bluff(s): Mormon Developments, 1846-1853, in the Missouri and Platte River Valleys of SW Iowa & E Nebraska ( Omaha, Nebraska: Omaha Institute of Religion, 2000), 41, 67; Orson Hyde, ed., The Frontier Guardian ( Kanesville, Iowa) 4 April 1851.
  14. Iowa Writers’ Project, WPA, Southwestern Iowa Guide, 173.
  15. Iowa Writers’ Project, WPA, Southwestern Iowa Guide, 173.
  16. History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa; Field and Reed, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa from the Earliest Historic Times, both of the former works quoted in Pilger, “History of Crescent Township,” 2.
  17. 17. Pearl Wilcox, Roots of the Reorganized Latter Day Saints in Southern Iowa ( Independence, Missouri: P.G. Wilcox, c1989), 107.
  18. Holmes, Old Council Bluff(s), 67.
  19. Wilcox, Roots of the Reorganized Latter Day Saints, 107.
  20. “ Crescent Cemetery,” Winter Quarters Project Archives, John. A. Widtsoe Building, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; see also http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/5660/crescent.htm.
  21. Orson Hyde, The Frontier Guardian 17 October 1849, quoted in Cook, comp, Death and Marriage Notices, 19.

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Garner Township


Garner Township

Virtual Tour of the Graybill-Stoker Cemetery (Under Construction)

"Garner township was settled by the Mormons at the same time that Kane, Rockford, and Crescent were. What made this point particularly inviting was the abundance of timber for building their cabins and fuel, but even more was the little old Indian mill, which had been built by the govenerment for the benefit of the Pottawattamies ten years before., and was run by S. E. Wicks. He was the last government agent to run it, and when that tribe removed the old mill was left and Mr. Wicks remained and became in full possession, making excellent flour to as late as 1860. He had married a sqaw and reared quite a large family, but they became scattered after the death of their parents.

"Among the first settlers were Wm. Garner, Adam Ritter, J. D. Haywood, in 1846, followed a little later by M. B. Follet, J. B. Dingman, George and Simeon Graybill, George Scofield, John Child, J. J. Johnson and Wm. Child.

"They all remained after the great body moved on to Utah and became some of the most prosperous farmers in the county. . . . The township is named in honor of the first named, who was known far and near as Uncle Billy Garner. He became wealthy, secured a large quantity of land mostly in the Mosquito valley, and as fast as one of his numerous family became aged or married, he would deed them land for a farm. Although of limited education his judgment in nearly all matters was considered infallible.

"The township is of irregular shape, a large piece being reserved by Kane from the southwest part, but this has been more than made up by a panhandle extending to the river along the south line of both Crescent and Hazel Dell, making the north line nine miles long, so that is is bounded on the north by Crescent and Hazel Dell, east by Hardin, south by Lewis and Kane, and west by Kane and the Missouri river. The principal streams besides the Missouri river are the Big and Little Mosquito and Indian creeks. It is strictly agricultural, there being no manufactories at present. Mr. Garner built a woolen factory many years ago, but it was abandoned after a trial of a few years. It is crossed by five railroads, the Rock Island and the Milwaukee passing diagonally through the center, and the Great Western cutting through the southeastern, while the Northwestern and also the Illinois Central pass through the panhandle on the extreme west. Probably half of it is timber land. Up to this writing, although a large and wealthy township, it has never had a railroad station or store. It had, however, for many years a large hall, built by the Grange, where meetings both political and religious were held, as well as elections, balls, and all kinds of social gatherings.

"Long before this was built, however, the little schoolhouse had crept into the edges of the groves and were used for social neighborhood meetings.

"In contemplating the habits of these early settlers, their industry, frugality and honesty, one is tempted to ask whether civilization may not be carried too far. Tthere was no church here, neither was there a saloon, and their wants were simple; their industry provided all of the substantial [needs] and from the moment of their coming their conditions were being improved.

"Any history of Garner township without reference to Uncle Billy would be like the play of Hamlet with that character omitted. He was a typical North Carolinian with just enough of the southern dialect to be interesting. [He was] of such integrity that he commanded the respect of the entire community. When his work was done, in addition to his neighbors, a special train took friends from the city to follow his remains to the little cemetery named after him and overlooking the home he had enjoyed for half a century. He was of long lived stock; his father having passed the century mark and his mother to nearly ninety. In 1846 he was married to Miss Sarah Workman, and if ever one was appropriately named, it was she. While he was in the army she conducted the farm, in addition to her manifold duties in the house, with almost masculine ability.

"While the man seems to be the subject of most history, there are thousands of noble and patient women that have been real helpmeets. [They] contributed more than their half to the general welfare and there is something wrong [in] that they fail to receive credit for it. The only way seems for them to become historians and speak for themselves, as we are so vain as to claim all the credit ourselves.

"The first school ever taught in Pottawattamie county is claimed to have been held in the little Mormon suburb of Kanesville caled Carterville. This was in 1847. A Mr. Curtis was the teacher and he contracted to teach for $12 per month, but at close of school was compelled to compromise for a part. From this modest beginning the institution had grown by 1881 when the school enrollment reached three hundred, with twelve schoolhouses.

"The vicinity of the old Wicks mill has for more than half a century played a conspicuous part in the early history of Pottawattamie county. It was here where the immigrants obtained their first flour and corn meal, and for many years later, it was the place where the Latter-day Saints held their yearly meetings, some coming for nearly one hundred miles. A beautiful grove furnished an ideal camping ground. The Mosquito creek, like the Jordan, became famous for the number baptized in its waters, and alongside of the road coming from under a bluff was an excellent spring capable of supplying any number of worshippers [presumably members of the Reorganization Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints]." (1)

A short history of William Garner follows:

WILLIAM GARNER , one of the early pioneers of Pottawattamie County , was born in Davidson County , North Carolina , June 22, 1817, a son of David and Sarah ( Stevens ) Garner , also natives of North Carolina . The father lived to the age of 104 years, and the mother died at the age of ninety years. Our subject was but seventeen years of age when his parents moved to Quincy , Illinois , where he remained eleven years. He was married in 1846 to Sarah Workman , and they then joined the Mormons at Nauvoo , Illinois , and some years later came with that colony to Pottawattamie County , Iowa . Mr. Garner was one of the first settlers in this county, and Garner Township was named in his honor. He served in the Mexican war, and marched through to Mexico , thence to Lower California , after which he returned home. He now owns 350 acres of fine land in Garner Township , and has also given each, of his eleven children a good farm. He has lived to see his children grow to maturity, and is a well-to-do and honorable citizen of Pottawattamie County . He built the woolen mill on Mosquito Creek, and has been an important factor in many other improvements. (2)

Cemeteries

 

GRAYBILL- STOKER- - GATROST
FAMILY CEMETERY
3 MILES EAST OF COUNCIL BLUFFS
OFF #6 HIGHWAY IN GARNER TOWNSHIP
POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY , IOWA

The legal description reads as follows: Beginning at a point “the Northwest corner of the southwest quarter of the of the northwest quarter of section 34 — Township 75 — range 43 go east __ rods to northwest corner of Cemetery thence south 16 rods, then east 6 rods thence north __ rods and west 6 rods to starting place of northwest corner of Cemetery.

NAMES -- DATES AND PLACES OF THOSE BURED IN TH1S CEMETERY

The earliest interment being possibly around 1850

*CATHERINE (ELLER) STOKER
Wife of Michael Stoker married in 1791
Born March 6, 1773 in Rowan County , North Carolina
Died sometime after 1850 in Pottawattamie County

*MICHAEL STOKER SR.
Born in Frederick County Maryland March 24, 1762
Died after October 27, 1836 and is not buried here.

*MARY POLLY (STOKER) GRAYBILL
Wife of Michael Graybill was born November 24, 1792
Died February 18, 1864
Married Michael in 1811

*MICHAEL GRAYBILL
Born May 14, 1787 in Ashe County, North Carolina
Died September 24, 1856
Mary Polly was daughter of Catherine (Eller) Stoker

*DAVID STOKER
Son of Catherine (Eller) Stoker was born March 23, 1795 in Ashe County North Carolina
Died at Winter Quarters, Iowa , May 27, 1852

* BARBARA GRAYBILL - David Stoker's wife — married in 1814
Born April 1792 in Ashe County, North Carolina
Died October 3,1872 at Summit Creek1 Iron County Utah
and body brought back for burial beside her husband.
She was a sister to the above Michael Graybill

*JOHN STOKER - son of Catherine(Eller) Stoker
Born March 26, 1 802 at Ashe County, North Carolina
Died at Trader's Point, Iowa, August 2, 1857

*SARAH (Sally) McDANIEL - wife of the above John Stoker— married March 13, 1827

Born May 26, 1806 - Raccoon Township , Gallia County , Ohio
Died May 7, 1857

*MICHAEL STOKER JR. — son of Catherine (Eller Stoker)
Born February 1G, 1805 in Ashe County , North Carolina
Death date unknown
Married Martha McDaniel sister of Sarah McDaniel in 1829

*MARTHA McDAN!EL
Born in Raccoon Township , Gallia County , Ohio September 28, 1808 Died February 4, 1873

*GABRIEL McNEIL STOKER — (son of Michael Stoker Jr. & wife Martha)
Born October 23, 1829 Bloomfield Twp. Jackson County, Ohio
Died June 10, 18522 aged 23 years

*MARTHA REBECCA STOKER — (daughter of Michael Stoker Jr. & Martha hi wife)

Born January 1, 1849 in Pottawattamie County , Iowa
Died October 19, 1871 - age 22 years

*ELLER STOKER — (son of Michael Sr. & Catherine (Eller) Stoker)
Born July 28, 1816 in Jackson County, Oho
Died July 18, 1855, Pottawattamie County, Iowa
He married Margaret Judd in 1839

*MARGARET JUDD — wife of Eller Stoker
Born May 29, 1822 in Wilkes County , North Carolina
Died November 20, 1893

From the records of Emily Jane Graybill, daughter of Simeon & Frances ( Downs ) Graybill is shown that
* A small son of Brigham J. Graybill
* and a small son of George W. Graybill
* and three or four small children of Jacob Stoker (who was another son of Michael Stoker Sr. and Catherine (Eller) Stoker) are also buried here.

Jacob Stoker's wife was Catherine Burcham They are buried in
San Luis Obispo County , California and reared other children.
They were married on October 8, 1835 in Ohio .

*PHILLIP GATROST
Record on Gravestone, died November 5, 1870 - aged 59 years
5 months and 20 days.

*CATHERINE (GRAYBIL) GATROST wife of Phillip Gatrost
Daugher of Michael and Mary Polly (Stoker)Graybill
Died December 1, 1886 — age 72 years, 5 months, 22 days.
Their grandaughter (daughter of Michael Gatrost (their son) Mrs. Rena
Gatrost Bell now living at Grand Junction, Colorado aged 93 years. Was aged 13 years and sleeping with her grandmother Catherine when she slept away in death. If Rena were present today what interesting stories she could tell us.

*WILIJAM LENORE GRAYBILL — son of Michael & PoHy (Stoker) Graybill
Born in Jackson County, Ohio January 25, 1823 or 1824.
Father of Ira, Jesse and Rebecca (Graybill) Collins
His wife's given name was Hannah.
Died June 25, 1880

*SYDNEY GRAYBILL small son of William Lenore and Hannah Graybill

*MARY (SMITH) GRAYBILL — first wife of George W. Graybill
Born September 16, 1823
Died February 16, 1860 — She was the daughter of John and Mossie (Koontz)
(Koons) Smith and a grandaughter of Mary Eller who was sister of
Catherine (Eller) Stoker.

*POLLY PURLEY (GRAYBLL) DOWNS
Born 1849 — died 1872 aged 23 years

*MASSIE (GRAYBILL) McGREW
Born April 3, 1855 — died September 29, 1872 age 17 years PoHy and Massie were children of George W. Graybill and his second wife Hannah (Smith) Omen) (Sexton) twice widowed sister of his First wife Mary whom he married three years after Marys death. George W. Groybill was a son of Michael and Mary Poiy (Stoker) Graybill. George W. Graybil was born June 26, 1821 in Jackson County, Ohio, died March 5 1900 - — as late as 1883 the land surrounding the Cemetery was changing hands, once owned by W. J. Bond and sold to C. W. Royer April 16, 1883. This change of ownership without doubt prompted George W. Graybill to make purchase of this 6/10 of an acre Cemetery plot in order to preserve it. The burial place of those close to him, (a wife and two children) and other loved ones, he moved and secured the title to himself and then unselfishly deeded it to the Public. The deed is recorded in the Recorders office of the Pottawattamie Court hourse at Council Bluffs , Iowa in Book #149, page 155. We await further research to determine if possible reasons for our people burying relatives here. Was this land first purchased from the government by a Graybill, a Stoker - or Gatrost? It is only a few miles south west of land owned by Simeon Graybill and Phillip Gatrost.

*ABAGAIL (GRAYBILL) PRITCHETT
Born April 15, 1842 - died April 8, 1885

*DAVID GRAYBILL — age 3 years
Abbagail and David were children of Levi and Patience (Smith) Graybill - which Levi was a son of Michael and Mary Polly (Stoker) Graybill. This Levi is not buried here but rather lies at Wheelers Grove Cemetery and it is confusing in the record of Book compiled by J. W. Hook 1957 — unless one is truly familiar with his history.

Patience Smith his wife born November 25 or 26, 1825 in Henry County, Indiana and died at Wheelers Grove, Pottawattamie County, Iowa August 14, 1895. She was a daughter of John Smith and wife Massie (Koontz) Smith a sister of Mary, Wife of George W. Graybill.

Levi Graybill, husband of Patience Smith was born in Jackson County, Ohio, March 12, 1818 — died November 30, 1912.

*LEVI GRAYBILL
Probably a son of the above Levi but no proof — record of burial place confused — one record shows here the other at Wheelers Grove , Iowa . Born August 16, 1851 - died May 1 1879 aged 27 years.

*ALMEDA GRAYBLL
Born October 8, 1869 — died September 8, 1873 — age 3 years +.

*GEORGE A GRAYBLL
Born April 2, 1864 - died August 28 1873 - age 9 )sears.
These children of Simeon and Frances ( Downs ) Graybill died from Diptheria eleven days apart.
Simeon was a son of Michael and Mary Polly (Stoker) Graybill, he was born in Bloomfield Twp. Jackson County Ohio March 26, 1816 — Died June 27, 1889 at Weston , Iowa . Buried at Downsvifle Cemetery .
Frances Graham his wife was widow of EzekoI Downs. She was a daughter of Thomas and Saroh (McCruary) Graham - bured in Downsville Cemetery .

*EMILY JANE GRAYBILL - no dates

*JESSE GRAYBILL
Are small children of Sidney Rigdon Graybill another son of Michael and
Mary Polly (Stoker) Graybill, which Sidney R, was born in Ohio
April 6, 1836.

This concludes all available information on hand except one other person buried here.

*------- ---- Pilling by name — no other information.

The lack of proper attention to the care of this old family burial plot of ground came to our knowledge through visits there and the obvious vandal damage was seen increasing from time to time. Perhaps the greatest damage was from lack of upkeep, brush undergrowth and needed fence repairs.

This Cemetery is surrounded by land now owned by Mr. Victor A, Swanson. His son Donald C. Swanson met with the Committee on March 17, 1968 and graciously promised us concessions of privilege to cross his and to visit and repair the Cemetery. Mr. Swanson has always manifested a respect for the burial place and we will do well to appreciate this and not abuse any privilege granted us. This Cemetery is a land mark in this Community and tells a story of its early pioneers.

 

Graybill Cemetery

The legal description for this cemetery reads as follows: Beginning at a point “the NW corner of the SW of NW of Section 34, Township 75N, Range 43 - go east 34 rods to NW corner of cemetery, thence S i6 rods, then E 6 rods, thence N i6 rods and N 6 rods to starting place of corner of cemetery” in Garner Township. It is 3 miles east of Council Bluffs on old Highway 6, to the first gravel road south after the railroad overpass, go about a mile, turn east about 1/4 mile, then north on a “dead end” road to the first farm gate on the left. The cemetery is about half a mile walk back west through the field. As always with farm gates--be sure to close them. Mr. Donald C. Swanson lives on the farm, so ask his permission. This is thought to be an old Mormon Cemetery. The stones are old and many are broken. The new stone, as pictured, was erected to all those known to be buried here.

This cemetery was charted 30 Oct 1984.

GRAYBILL CEMETERY

s- STOKER, Margaret 29 MAY 1822 - 20 Nov 1893

Eller 28 Jul 1816 - 18 Ju1 1855 AFAM emb

Our Father and Mother .


s- GRAYBILL, W.L. 25 Jan 1824 - 25 Jun 1880


s- GRAYBILL, David. s/o L. & P. Graybill

d. 8 Nov 1857, 2y. 7m 9d

s- STOKER, Sarah M. 26 May 1806 - 7 Mar 1857 (Mother)

John W. 16 Mar 1802 - 2 Aug 1857 (Father)

s- GRAYBILL, Michael 14 May 1787 - 24 Sep 1856


s- GRAYBILL, Mary w/o Geo. W. Graybill

d/o John & Mattie Smith

d. 16 Feb 1860, 35y 5m

s- STOKER, Gabriel M.N. d. 10 Jun 1852, 22y 5m 17d

David N. d. 17 Jun 1852, 20y 4r i5d
Michael S. d. 30 May 1858, 53y un 20d
Marta R. d. 19 Oct 1871, 22y 9m iSd
Martha C. w/o M. Stoker

d. 4 Feb 1873. 64y 11m l0d

s- GRAYBIIL, Polly 24 Nov 1792 — (18 Feb 1864)

s- GRAYBILL, George A. d. 28 Aug 1873, 9y 5m

Almeda d. 8 Sep 1873, 2y 11m

ch/o Simeon P. & Frances M. Graybill

s- McGREW, Mattie w/o Thomas McGrew

d/o Geo. & Mary Graybill.

d. 29 Sep 1872, l7y 7rn 26d

s- DOWNS, Polly Jane w/o Wayne Downs

d/o Geo. W . & Mary Graybill
d. 30 Sep 1872, 23y 3m 9d

s- GRAYBILL, Ira s/o Mr. & Mrs. B. Graybill

5 Jun 1883 — 28 Feb 1884, 1y 1m 23d

s- GRAYBILL, Sarah A. d/o Geo. V. & Mary Graybill

d. 13 Sep 1857, 1y 3m

s- GATROST, Phillip d. 5 Nov 1870, 59y 5m 20d

Catharine w/o P. Gatrost

d. 1 Dec 1886, 72y 5rn 22d

Father and Mother

s- PRITCHETT, Abigail w/o John T.

15 Apr 1842 — 8 Apr 1865

(Stone badly deteriorated )

Many of these stones are flat on the ground and many are broken but readable.

GRAYBILL CEMETERY

In Memory Of

1842 Abbigail PRITCHETT 1885
1773 Catherine STOKER 1850
1792 Polly GRAYBILL 1864
1787 Michael GRAYBILL 1856
1795 David STOKER 1852
1802 John STOKER 1857
1806 Sarah STOKER 1857
1805 Michael STOKER, Jr. ----
1808 Martha STOKER 1873
1829 Gabriel STOKER 1852
1849 Martha R. STOKER 1871
1816 Eller STOKER 1855
1822 Margaret STOKER 1893
1814 Catherine GATROST 1886
1823 Wm. Lenore GRAYBILL 1880
Inf. Sidney GRAYBILL Inf.
1823 Mary GRAYBILL 1860
1849 Polly P. DOWNS 1872
1855 Massie McGREW 1872
1811 Phillip GATROST 1870
Inf. David GRAYBILL Inf.
1851 Levi GRAYBILL 1879
1864 George A. GRAYBILL 1873
1869 Almeda GRAYBILL 1873
1834 David N. STOKER 1852
1828 John R. STOKER 1847
1846 America STOKER 1847
1851 Peter STOKER 1851
1851 Julia STOKER 1857
---- Mrs. PILLING ----
Inf. David N. STOKER Inf.
Inf. Emily J. GRAYBILL Inf.
Inf. Jesse GRAYBILL Inf.

These names are all on one new stone.


Notes:

  1. History of Pottawattamie County, 192-194.
  2. http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~gonfishn/bhopci/g/garnerw.html

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Grove Township


Grove Township

“Grove township derives its name from the fact that [in 1881] it [had] a number of fine groves that if properly cared for [would have been] sufficient for a dense population . . . Grove township was included in Macedonia township until September 25, 1848, on which date, by authority of the county judge, the territory consisting of congressional township 74 north, of range 30 west, was declared a civil township, and the same was declared an election precinct, and it was ordered that an election be held therein on the second Tuesday in October, 1858 . . .

“Long before this township had been organized or a permanent settler located trails were made by the Mormons while on their pilgrimage, and these became the roads of the pioneers that followed (1).”

The Mormon Pioneers appear to have built a bridge across Jordan Creek in this township (2).

“In 1848 the following named men came in over the old Mormon trail from Illinois, viz.: James Watson, came with ox teams; George Owen, drove both horses and oxen; George Taylor, came with ox teams. These brought their families with them and were soon followed by many others.

“The first sawmill in the township was built was built and owned by John Smith in 1853, and was located on Farm creek . . . In 1850 the settlers became so numerous that they began to talk of schools, and they employed a Dr. Williams to teach a school in one room in the residence of Jacob Anderson. This proved so satisfactory that a second term was taught by a Mr. John Day in a little log cabin near the residence of S. M. B. Wheeler . . .

“Many of these early settlers left Nauvoo intending to go to Utah, but for one reason or another they paused here and finally concluded to remains and few, if any have had cause to regret it. The first to organize a religious body in the township were the Latter Day Saints. E. W. Briggs and W. W. Blair were the organizers, and the original members were John Smith and wife, E. W. Knapp and wife, A. J. Field and wife, Joseph

Smith and wife, and Stephen Smith. John Smith was their first president and E. W. Knapp the first clerk. Services were first held at residences of the different members and later at schoolhouses, but the society becoming more numerous and wealthy, in 1874 they erected a modest church building at a cost of $763” (3).

There is a burial ground in Grove Township called Mormon Cemetery. Many of those buried there were members of the RLDS Church. As the oldest remaining grave marker is from 12 October 1861, no LDS burials are known to have occurred here. However, the saints may have buried their dead here without headstones, or the headstones may have deteriorated or crumbled since they were placed (4).

The presence of two other cemeteries in the township indicates the existence of two LDS communities here in the past: Pleasant Grove and Wheeler’s Grove (5). See the histories pertaining to Wheeler’s Grove and Pleasant Grove on this website.


Notes:

  1. Homer H. Field and Joseph R. Reed, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa: From the Earliest Historic Times to 1907 (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1907), 196.
  2. “ Grove Township,” Survey Notes.
  3. Field and Reed, History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa: From the Earliest Historic Times to 1907, 196-97.
  4. “Mormon,” Cemeteries, vol. 1, book 5, pg. i; “ Mormon Cemetery: Carson, Grove Township,” http://iagenweb.org/pottawattamie/cem-mormon.htm.
  5. “Grove township, Pottawattamie County, Iowa (IA),” http://www.city-data.com/township/Grove-Pottawattamie-IA.html; Allen Wortman, Ghost Towns of Mills County, Iowa (Malvern, Iowa: ?, 1975), 76; Historical Society of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, “Grove Township Cemeteries,” http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/5660/grove.htm.

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Hardin Township


Hardin Township


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Hazel Dell Township


Hazel Dell Township


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Keg Creek Township


Keg Creek Township

The original surveyor's record for Keg Creek Township reads as follows:

"Keg Creek Township

"T. 74 N. R. 42 W.

"The exterior survey was made in August 1851 and the subdivision survey in November of the same year. John Cassidy, Deputy Surveyor with William Cassiday Asst. Surveyor had the following crew: James Shilledy and Thomas B. Gostage, Chairmen, Joshua E. Roberts, axeman, and John E. Shelledy, flagman. Cassiday's notes of the Township follows:

"The surface of the Township is generally broken although there is some land that is well adapted to farming with third rate soil. There is no timber in the Township except at Highland Grove and that is but little and pprincipally cut down to make improvements at that place and even the tops of that used for rails is built into a fence on the west of the grove to secure the crops from the depradation of stock. There is seven residents in the grove with about 150 acres of improvements which on the north and east of the grove appear to be held in common and would be as follows two settlers on the south 1/2 Sec. 18, from settlers on the NE 1/4 Sec. 19 and one on S 1/2 Sec. 19. There is some springsand abundance of still water in every part of the Township. Keg Creek, the principal stream affords abundance of water to drive machinery of any kind if needed but the scarcity of timber forbids any but a sparce population and that to be engaged in stock raising. The roads in the Township are on the divides and good. The principal travel to Canesville and Traders Point go through it (Mormon Trail). No appearance of rock or coal. There is an improvement and house on west 1/2 Sect. 21 but no residents.

"Mr. Cassiday reports a road leading north from HIghland Grove across Sec. 7 and into Sec 6 but does not report its leaving SEc. 6. When Hardin Tonwship (75 N-42 W) was subdivided Deputy Surveyor Baumgardner showed a road which he called Kanesville road coming out of Sec. 31 and bearing NE across Secs. 29, 28, 27 and 26 through a settlement of Corbins and Fields as it is assumed that this road enters Sec. 6 of Keg Creek Township on the north one threaded south to Highland Grove settlement where it forms the Psga road to Kanesville. The account is given of a road leading North from Sec. 14 through Sec. 11 and into Sec. 2.

"When Mr. Cassiday made his survey of Silver Creek Township T 14 N. R 421 he made reference to crossing a brok between Secs. 7 and 15 which crossed the west line of SEc. 18, however he makes no reference to that stream in his survey of this Township. This stream flows into west fork of Silver Creek in Sec. 24 and is noted by dotted lines." (1)

"KEG CREEK TOWNSHIP

"The general history of this township is that of Silver Creek up to 1873, when it was cut out of that township. This was done by order of the board of supervisors, made October 14, 1873, and it was also ordered that the first election should be held at the schoolhouse known as the Keg creek schoolhouse, near what is known as the Dick Hardin farm. This is one of the sons of the Davis Hardin that came in '38 to look after the interests of the Pottawattamies.

"The name of Hardin has been made very popular. One son (Mart, as he was always called) having held public offices of various kinds for years and now his son Will is the present assessor of the city, and has been for many years and likely to be many years more, being one of these democrats that can always catch a lot of republican votes.

"This township was named after its principal stream. This stream derives its name from the circumstance that some early emigrants found several kegs of whiskey that had been hidden in the willows on its bank.

"Among the early settlers who have become prominent and contributed largely to the development of this township were: Wooster Fay, A. W. Wyman, S. G. Underwood and Col. Wm. Orr. Of these only Mr. Underwood is living. He has one of the finest and well stocked farms in the county.

"The first officers of the township were: A. W. Wyman, Wooster Fay and Fredrick Miller, trustees and George Kirby, justice of the peace.

"The first road laid out was what is known as the state road, established by Judge J.P. Casady in 1860, and was known as the Council Bluffs and Lewis road, and for many years it was the only road in the township.

"The first school of which there is any record was taught in 1856 in an old log cabin that had been moved out of Moffat's grove to the edge of the prairie, and taught by Miss Catharine Buffington. The winter of '56 was so cold that they did without school.

"It seems but proper that we should retain and hand down the names of the sturdy, patient men that first opened up this most glorious country, and we take pleasure in doing so especially as there are few now remaining with us, and we even wonder if we have their equals with us to-day, and we will mention a few more that came in the early times. Thomas Moffatt came in 1856 and a Mr. Beckinridge the same year, Mr. Grierson came in 1855 and Henry Kams opened a farm at the same date. Mr. Grierson died in the fall of the same year that he came. Mr. McNay and Wm. Campbell also came in an early day and have been some of our best citizens.

"The township has two churches, that of the Methodists on section 19, and German Lutheran on section 2.

"No country in the world can raise better crops or people than this township." (2)

View Keg Creek Township Cemeteries


Notes:

  1. Original Surveyor's Record, Keg Creek Township. Winter Quarters Project Archives, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
  2. 2. Field, Homer H. and Hon. Joseph R. Reed, History of Pottawattamie County , Iowa , From the Earliest Historic Times to 1907, Also Biographical Sketches of Some Prominent Citizens of the County , Vol. 1. ( Chicago : The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1907), 202-203.

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Knox Township


Knox Township


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LaGrange Township


LaGrange Township


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Silver Creek Township


Silver Creek Township

Surveyor's Record

Silver Creek Township

"T. 74 N. R. 41 W.

John Conkey, Deputy Surveyor came over from Macedonia Township and made the exterior survey in August 1851.

His chainmen were John Downie and Wm. Bemis. Henry Forney and Thomas Markwood were mound makers. G.W. Wilkerson was axeman. The Interior Survey, made in October and November 1851 by John Cassiday, Deputy Surveyor. His crew consisted of Tho. B. Gossage and James A. Shellsday, chainmen, Joshua Roberts marker, and John Shellsday, Flagman. Mr. Cassiday reports his findings as follows.

The surface is rolling inclined to hilly, The sod second rate and produce good grain and vegetables but inclined to wash into gutters on the slopes. There is but little timber. One small grove on Sec. 22 and some about Potters Camp in Southwest corner of the Township. The only settlement in said Township composed of about eleven residents who have 80 to 100 acres of improvements and is principally situated on SW1/4 Sec. 32 and SE1/4 Sec. 31 and appears to be held in common by residents. There is no appearance of rock in any of the streams or any water priviledged. The banks are alliuval and inclined to quick sand so much that they offer in many instances, as a fence to secure the crops from the depradations of stock.” (1)

History

"This township was first settled by Mormons who were a part of the great exodus from Nauvoo. They made claims and, after staying one year, nearly all sold out to Gentiles who came after them. The first man to open a stage station between Wheeler's Grove and Council Bluffs was a Mr. Gardner, and this was the only one between the two points. He soon sold out to a Mr. Moore and moved on with the Mormons to Salt Lake. In 1854 John Bratton bought out Mr. Moore and for three years longer there was a stage route through here, though a post office that had been kept here was discontinued when Mr. Moore removed from this point. The first settler that came with the intention of staying was Pleasant Taylor. When the stage route was changed, he followed it and established a station farther north on the same stream that has been known ever since as Taylor Station. John Bratton was the second permanent settler, a native of Pennsylvania but [he] came here from Ohio. He finally went to Silver City in Mills County. The first schoolhouse was at this station, it being a log cabin with a turf roof, and the first teacher was Miss Maggie Weirich of Council Bluffs. This was in 1857. In 1861 a frame schoolhouse was erected, and also a church. In 1860, a Protestant Methodist church was organized with seven members, without a regular pastor. Jason Parker was the first Justice of the Peace. The first marriage was between George E. Smith and Mrs. Clarrissa Wheeling. The first child born in the township was a son to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wells. Mrs. Bratton attended the birth of the child. She followed the profession of midwife for all that section of the country for years, and her husband was a preacher. The first death of an adult was that of Mrs. Margaret Piles in August 1857. An infant of hers died in July of the same year, and both were buried near the station. During the Pike's Peak excitement, the station was a lively point; from 60 to 70 teams would pass through daily. In 1856, five hundred Mormon emigrants passed through on the stage road with hand carts, not a single horse in the entire outfit. They seemed to feel happy and not to realize the terrible journey before them. In 1878, W.H. Hartman of Glenwood, Mills County, organized a branch of the Christian Church at the Pontius Schoolhouse. Among its current day institutions are the Treynor Savings Bank, two general stores, one furniture and implement house, one drug store, one livery barn, and two saloons. Mayor, Ferdinand Schoening; clerk, T.P. Carter; marshal, Fred Schrede, with six aldermen. Trustees, Perry Kearney, Julius Strohbehn, and J.G. Moss; clerk, F.W. Ouren; justices of the peace, Jurgen Jensen and Henry Parker; constables, none; assessor, C.E. Springer. School Directors: Pleasant Valley - President, F.M. Smith; secretary, Perry Kearney; treasurer, W.A. Allensworth. Sucksdorf - President, F.H. Schultz; secretary, P.N. Sucksdorf; treasurer, Jurgen Heesch. Silver Center - President, George A. Stevens; secretary; Herman Schnepel; treasurer, August Dammrow. Lone Star - President, John Trede; secretary, John Clark; treasurer, G.W. Kauke. Valley - President, James T. Fox; secretary, I.H. Stevens; treasurer, J.G. Moss. Living Springs - President, A.T. Rains; secretary, F.W. Ouren; treasurer, Henry Anderson." (2)


Notes:

  1. Original Surveyor's Record, Silver Creek Township. Winter Quarters Project Archives, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
  2. "History of Silver Creek Township," http://iagenweb.org/pottawattamie/Hist-TwpSilverCrk.htm.

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St. John's Township


St. John's Township


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Macedonia Township


Macedonia Township

The original township survey read as follows:

"Macedonia Township

"T.74 N R.40 W

"The exterior survey was made in August 1851 by [illegible letter or word] the [illegible name] Deputy Surveyor, who had finished the exterior survey of Grove Township in July. Ansin Butler and Samuel F. Watts were chainmen, Laurence Flanagan was Moundmaker and [illegible name] D. Noble was Flagman. The interior survey was made by John Cassiday, Deputy Surveyor. His chainmen were Thomas B. Gossage and Joshua Roberts. James. A. Shelledy was marker and Thomas Rankin, Flagman. The survey was completed in October 1851. Summary notes by Mr. Cassiday are as follows.

“'This Township is composed of rolling surface in many places approaching ills with second rate soil. We adapted to agriculture. There is but little timber and that of superior quality and principally on the streams. Nishnabotna is the only stream of any size, being 60 to 90 links in width at an ordinary stage of water with a sluggish current with few exceptions flows its bottoms from three to six feet. There is seven residents in the Township each having some improvement amounting in all to about 130 acres.'

"The water of the interior survey mention a limestone quarry in Sections 14 and 23. Of course, Mr. Cassidy would be surprised to know that many miles of county roads have been surfaced with lime stone quarried from that vicinity. And that thousands of acres of farm land have been sweetened by treatment of [illegible word] rock from the same source."


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