The first settlement commenced in Lincoln Township was some time during the year 1857. James Sellick, Hiram Moore and Henry Hushaw, were among the first who broke the sod in this township and as evidence of their appreciation of the place they located, they have remained there ever since, and are now prosperous farmers.
Timber is rather scarce, there not being more than one section in the whole township. The groves are Four Mile, Cockran’s and Selleck’s Grove. The first school house was built in w1860, and there are now two good school houses, in which are taught each year six months of school. There are no organized church in the township, and but 15 families there.
On the farm of Mr. Sellick there was a small battle between the Indians. The farmers dug pits in which to hide from the bullets and arrows of the Indians, they author states they are still distinctly visible. The battle was more imaginary than real, for while the Indians were beyond the reach of their shots. Mr. James Bates waited till one Indian came within range of his rifle, and wounded the Indian in the arm.
The nearest trading point for the people of this township, are Woodbine and Dunlap, and recently there has been a road located from the Willow to Woodbine, making it convenient for the people here to market, to mill, and post office, it being only four miles across the divide.
Magnolia Township is situated on the divide between the Missouri and Boyer rivers. It has the Willow creek, a stream of sufficient size for water power to impel the machinery of mills or factories.
The first settler of this township was George Blackman in the spring of 1852. But he was not long to have the place all to himself, and the same year James Hardy Senior, Jacob Hoffman, Stephen Mahoney and Jonas Chatburn, in their western course settled here with their families and commenced improvements. Mahoney and Chatburn housed their families in their wagons and commenced and completed a saw mill on Willow Creek.
Mr. Chatburn, although an Englishman, soon exhibited the ingenuity of a Yankee. With his own hands having prepared a run of burs to grind corn, and having it all completed to attach to the power of the saw mill, except the leather belts, a raw chow hide was cut into strips and the mill set at work. One grist was ground, and Chatburn and Mahoney, buoyant with success, went to supper, and while about the table told their wives they had ground the first corn in these parts, and how much they should grind on the morrow. but how often are our brightest prospects blasted. When they returned to the mill, lo! the wolves had been there and eat up the raw belts, leaving the corn mill entirely detached from the power.
The township was organized into a voting precinct in the year 1852 and the same year Mr. S. King, laid out a small portion of what is now called the town of Magnolia sometime after M. James Hardy laid out what is known as “Hardy’s addition,” and the same year the county seat of Harrison county was located at this place. About this time Mr. James W. Bates commenced a building designed for a store. Timber being scarce he carried the timber from the woods on his shoulders, and in the course of the fall or fore part of winter, opened the first store, and soon after the first hotel in Magnolia, know as the Bates House, but now as the Raymond Hotel, and is kept by William T. Raymond. The second store opened was by Mr. Isaac Bedsaul. the first post office was established in the fall of 1854, but there was no mail route to the place, so the people had to carry the mail a distance of thirty-five miles at their own expense. This lasted nearly two years, when there was a mail route established from Council bluffs to Sioux city, passing through Magnolia. The first school was taught by Hon. T. B. Neely, during the winter of 1854, in a log cabin. The first regular physician of the place was Dr. J. H. Rice. The doctor is still a member of this community, and in the practice of his profession, after having served a term as assistant surgeon in the 29th Regiment Iowa volunteers.
The first church organization was by the M. E. Church, in the fall of 1854, Rev. Tarkington Pastor. In consequence of some variance between the Pastor of this organization, the Church organization was soon lost. In April of 1855, the Congregationalists organized with a membership of only three, W.W. Luddon, Pastor, John A. Donalson, and Dr. J. H. Rice. Rev. Mr. Luddon was a man of excellent character, and under his preaching the church the same spring materially added to its numbers. Among the additions during the spring and summer were Mrs. H. N. Rice, wife of Dr. Rice, Silas Rice and wife, and Miss Julia Hopkins. In the spring of 1856 S. E. Hillis and wife, Mrs. Irish and others added to their numbers. In the fall of 1856 Rev. H. D. King took charge of this congregation and Mr. Luddon moved to Elkhorn, Nebraska. When the new church was completed it was the only one in the county with a bell. In the fall of the same year, 1855, the M. W. Church was again organized with Rev. William Scott, pastor. Mr. Scott was a man universally beloved and respected, and under his charge the church, although small at first, fast increased. The first members were Jacob Fulton, and wife, Mrs. D. E. Brainard, Mrs. Isaac Bedsaul, Peter Barnet and wife, Josiah Crom and wife, Mrs. D. Young and others.
The Catholic Church building was commenced about the same time that Methodists commenced theirs and was pushed right along to its completion. The Evangelical (German) church commenced the erection of a building during the summer of 1867 and had the external part fished, but during the late wind storm (June 1868) it was blown from its foundation. The Christians (or Campbleits), Later-day Saints (or Mormons) and the Protestant Methodist frequently hold meetings at the Court House. Magnolia is noted for being a place of churches and religion.
The first school house was built during the year 1858, although it will be remembered that there were schools long before that date taught at private houses or forsaken log cabins. The first school house that was built was a poor shack of a thing–frame–two stories high, and designed for a graded school, and was used for school purposes until 1866. In the township there are now six school houses, in each of which is taught from six to ten months. In the village is a graded school, taught in a neat and convenient school house as can be found in Western Iowa.
During the summer of 1867, Dr. W.F. Clark, a merchant of this place, erected a dwelling of concrete blocks. During the time the doctor was having his blocks prepared and laid into the walls, himself and building were subject of about the same remarks that Noah and his ark excited.
The town now contains one good hotel, and would support another; three good dry good stores, two drug stores, one furniture store, two stove and tinware stores, one grocery store, two blacksmith ships, one wagon shop, one chair factory and paint shop, two carpenter shops, two millinery stores, one shoe shop, one tailor shop, one printing office, three lawyers, five physicians, three land agents, and an officer for each county office (except County Judge).
1868 Business Directory of Magnolia Iowa
- H. C. Harshbarger, licensed conveyancer
- Dr. J. Gidding, dealer in drugs
- J. H. Rice, physician and surgeon
- Waterman & Dewell, attorneys, surveyors, conveyancers and land agents
- Wood, Rudasill & Low, dealers in dry goods and groceries
- M. Holbrook, attorney at law, conveyancer and claim agent
- J. B. Akers, saddler and painter
- Harvey & Company, real estate agents
- D. H. O’Linn & Brainard, dealers in drugs and medicines
- Clark & Yeisley, dealers in dry goods, groceries and hardware
- W. H. H. Wright, dealer in stoves and tinware
- J. W. Stocker, dealer in manufacturer of furniture
- J. A. Boies, dealer in stoves and tinware
- Musgrave & Cook, proprietors of the Western Star News, book and job office
- G. F. Waterman, attorney at law
- S. Dewell, County surveyor