1868 History: Jackson – Little Sioux Townships, Harrison County, Iowa

Jackson Township

The soldier river enters this township in the north-east corner, and leaves it about the middle of the south side. About its early settlement I know but little’ but this I do know, that its inhabitants at present are good working class of people, and that the township is composed of good and fertile land, a large portion of which is as yet in a state of nature, awaiting the plow of the farmer.

LaGrange Township

In 1848 while the western part of Iowa was comparatively little known, and generally considered a worthless pain, the Latter-day Saints (or Mormons) being in trouble with the people of Illinois and Missouri, left the bounds of civilization, seeking homes in the far west. Under the guidance of diverse leaders, they became scattered and confused, both in religion and destination. Most of them made a stop in western Iowa, and it was some of these men who commenced the improvements that now exist in LaGrange, as well as many other places of this and adjoining counties. some of them are still with us, denying Brigham Young as their leader, denouncing the abominations he taught, as the devil. they chose to remain where they were, cut off from the church which they believed had lost every semblance of Christ’s people.

In the latter part of the year 1848, Mr. Harris located within the present geographical limits of LaGrange township, and it was from him that the famed Harris Grove took its name. In 1850, Mr. William Tucker, locate here. In the fall of 1851, Thomas McKinney, Senior,. M.J. McKinney, J.B. McCurley, J. A. McKinney, Thomas Reeder, J.D. Rogers, William Howard and about the same time J.T. Stern and William Dakan bought claims and commenced improving.

The first school as taught by J.B. McCurley, during the winter of 1851; with an average attendance of thirty scholars, an old log hut being used for a school house. There are now three good frame school houses in the township, in each of which are taught from six to eight month’s school per year.

In the fall of 1853, the first election was held, and the township organized. Mr. M.J. McKinney, having been appointed organizing sheriff, to organize the county of Harrison, ordered an election in the several organized precincts of the county, but in consequence of a dissatisfaction arising out of the location of the county seat, some of the precincts refused to hold an election, hoping thereby to defeat the county organization and get a re-location of the county seat. This precinct, however opposed to the location of the county seat at the place selected, refused to be instrumental in defeating the county organization, and held an election which resulted in the election of the county officers mentioned elsewhere, with Michael Rogers and William Dakan justices of the peace for LaGrange township.

In 1854, Mr. William Dankan planted one hundred apple trees, which he brought from Missouri, in the winter, the roots exposed were frozen and about half of them died. however, the half that retained vitality the first season are still alive and bearing fruit. The nearest trading point for the township is Logan or Missouri Valley, a distance of six or eight miles.

Little Sioux Township

Little Sioux township is situated in the north-west corner of Harrison County, Monona county lying north. The Little Sioux river is the principal stream running through the township, and affords excellent water privileges for mills and manufactories. The land is most level, extending from the Missouri River to the bluffs, and for richness, depth and productiveness of soil, is unexcelled by any for the experienced agriculturist. Timber skirts the banks of the Little Sioux River, while in the hills or bluffs it hard wood, commonly oak, hickory, walnut and hackberry.

S.W. Condit, Sidney Chase, Amos Chase, Seth Palmer, McEverts and others, while looking for new homes in a rich country made choice here in the year 1850. [1]At that time Indians were still living in the area. I have chosen not to include what the author has to say about the Indians as I do not like the words and descriptions he used.

Little Sioux was laid out by S.W. Condit, T. B. Neely and William Neely. it is situated on the left bank of the Little Sioux River, two miles from the mouth. This sit, though on the bottom land, is dry and healthy, and commands, with its ornamental trees a beautiful location. One school house was built in 1856 and Mr. J. Smith opened a store and hotel the same year. He was succeeded by D. M. Gamet, who is still successfully following in the place the mercantile business. In 1857 the inhabitants were relieved from traveling to Council Bluffs, a distant fifty miles, and other places for their milling, through the enterprise of Mr. James Scofield, a saw and grist mill, greatly assisting them in the efforts of industry. Mr. Scofield continued improving and enlarging his saw and grist mill until 1866, when he could justly claim one of the largest and best in the west. Little Sioux if fast becoming a business little place, containing 100 dwellings, school house, two hotels, a number of stores, mills, shops and foundry and machine shop under construction. Steamboats have been up as far as the town, but the railroad bridge crossing the Little Sioux river at present has made the stopping point one mile distant. At this point a town has been laid out by Mr. S. Dewell on the south side of the river called Malta, and the Rail road company have marked a site on the north side, but neither of these places have had time for development.

In the spring of 1867 Dr. L. J. Kynett, a graduate of a Philadelphia Medical College, located at Little Sioux and opened a drug store, and the township can now boast one thorough physician.


1At that time Indians were still living in the area. I have chosen not to include what the author has to say about the Indians as I do not like the words and descriptions he used.

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