1868 Cass – Clay Townships, Harrison County, Iowa

Cass Township

Cass township is situated in the eastern part of Harrison county. While we pass up or down the Boyer, Willow, Missouri or other valleys of the county, admiring the scenery, and imagining its future appearance when it shall be one continuous chain of improved farms, we must not think the moment we ascend the bluffs, a desert or uninhabitable country will meet our gaze. If we do, we shall be disappointed; for on the very top or side of the steepest, roughest looking hill that can be found, vegetation is springing up, timber makes it appearance; and here we have a diversity of scenery, a mixture of plains, hills and valleys, timber and prairie, sprightly brooks, and cool springs of ever flowing water, and the gay flowers of the forest and prairie mingled together. Of this Cass township is a sample.

The first two white men that turned the sod and laid claim to soil in Cass township was Isaac Ellison and Uriah Hawkins, in the year 1848. It appears that they lived here about two years without another neighbor. A little anecdote is told on them, they they held an election for the purpose of electing a justice and a constable., when the votes were counted it was found that each one had a vote for justice and constable, so it was a tie. After voting several times, with the same result they agreed to allow their wives to vote. This time each of them had tow votes for each office, and the election was indefinitely postponed. In 1850 a respectable addition was made to the little colony, Rev. Curtland Card, Samuel Dunnigan [1]Dungan possible spelling, Edward Houghton, and Mr. Brooner, with their families, every one of them a house in a new country, made claims here and commenced opening farms.

They came to open farms and build up society, to transform the wild and romantic into the improved and scientific. In 1852 Mr. Kibler, Mr. Shedrick Card, and others were added to the settlement. Up to this time the children of the neighborhood got no teaching, except from their parents or older brothers and sisters. However, this winter (1852) the services of Mr. Stephen King was obtained to teach them. Mr. King was an excellent teacher and gave universal satisfaction, and although a log cabin was the best house the town could afford, no grumbling was heard, but industry took place of convenience, and all felt highly favored with the opportunity of sending their children to a good school.

In 1854 Mr. Asher Servis emigrated to this township, and much is due him for bringing to this county the John Richard stock of horse. At every fair where his stock has been shown it has taken the premium. The first school house built for school purposes, in this township, was built by Mr. Asher Servis in the summer of 1856. There is now four good frame school houses, well seated and furnished, in each of which are taught from six to eight months school per year. The principle churches of the township are Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Methodists, Christians and Presbyterians. There is no church building in the township, and religious meetings are held at the school houses.

Cass and Jefferson townships were formerly both in one, being organized as a voting precinct in 1858; but during Judge Braninard’s administration they were separated.

Cincinnati Township

Cincinnati Township is situated in the southwest corner of Harrison County, Iowa. The township contains 86 sections or square miles of land, which lays fairly on the Missouri bottom,; nearly one half of which is cottonwood timber of the largest growth. In this timber may be found six or eight stem saw mills continually transforming this timber into fence and building material.

The first permanent settler was R. S. Gurley, in 1854. The township was organized in 1857, by Squire Messenger, of Calhoun; on committee were Messrs. J. S. Fountain and J., H. Waggoner. the town of Cincinnati, or Parish City, was then laid out. The first vote of the township was given as 39. It was the hard times, from 58 to 63, that did mischief to this place, and hence a decrease of numbers on the town site, instead of an increase. The citizens have strong hopes of a city here yet; and with the advantages of an excellent boat landing, (hundreds of vessels land here during the summer season), railway junction, and the railway bridge, which the C. & N. W. R. R. Co. are now constructing. And no one who is acquainted with the county, now doubts that there will be, in this township, a large town, to say the least, if not a city.

Clay Township

On that singular stream, the Missouri River, or Big Muddy, lies the thrifty township of Clay. Standing in the eastern part of the township, the surface presents a gradual slope from the river. There are 30 sections of land in this township. More than three fourths of this is good timber, a portion equaled by no other township in the county. The numerous steam saw mills in this timber rise the proportion, as a lumbering point, much higher.

As early as 1848, this township was dotted with soldiers and herders tents; but the first permanent settlement was made in the spring of 1852 by Stephen Hester, and in the autumn of 1854, S. Chase, J. Ross, G. Ross, T. A. Dennis and J. Sharpneck. These enterprising men commenced improving, and in 1856 the township was organized under the administration of Judge Hardy. The market town for this colony was Council Bluffs, but they often went as far as Coonsville (now called Glenwood,) a distance of fifty miles for milling.

But some man must be first and foremost in all things and the thought that the frontier settler is an uncomfortable, unhappy man must not be indulged. They are generally men of strong mind and muscle, prepared to meet and overcome difficulties, and do it cheerfully.

The principal Indian tribes to be dealt with were the Omaha and Winnebago, nothing more serious than burglary occurred with them. during the first years of the settlement there was plenty of game, turkeys, wolves, deer and elk.


1Dungan possible spelling

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