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History of Adair
County, Iowa,
and its People.  1915.

Volume 1.


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Jackson Township comprises the whole of congressional township 75 north, range 33 west.  The surface of the township is very rolling and is well adapted to stock grazing.  It is well watered by the west branch of the Middle Nodaway River and its tributaries.  The main stream enters the township from the north, on the upper line of section 4, and traverses that section, together with 9, 10, 15, 22, 27, 34 and 33, leaving on the south line of the latter.  Rutt's Branch, one of the affluents of this stream, enters the township from Summerset, at the northeast corner of section 12, and flowing through sections 12, 1, 11, 14, makes a confluence with the main stream in the southeast quarter of section 15.  At one time there was considerable timber within the boundaries of the township, but with the progress of agriculture this has been largely cleared away.  Game was also abundant during the early days.  The buffalo were here before the first settlers came, but long before the advent of the latter, had completely disappeared.  The wapiti, or elk, were here, however, as were the deer.  The elk were killed off during the hard winter of 1856-7.  It is said that so great were their numbers at one time that Abner Root and John G. Vawter marked a route from the east branch to the middle branch of the Nodaway River, a distance of five or six miles, by planting elk horns which they picked up by the way within sight of each other the whole distance.  Deer remained for many years after the wapiti had gone.


The first man to make a home in Jackson Township was Alfred Jones, Sr.  He was a native of North Carolina, but came here from Kentucky on June 3, 1852, and located on section 4, accompanied by his family.  Here he resided until his death on October 18, 1881.

About the middle of June of the same year, 1852, Willis Lyons squatted upon section 12 and there built a home.  He afterwards abandoned this house and lived in an underground dwelling, cut into a bank near the old spring on section 11.  Lyons claimed much of what was afterwards Vawter's Grove, which claim he later sold to a Mr. Taylor.  Lyons did not stay in this county very long, but followed the tide of emigration westward and lost himself to the knowledge of people in this locality.  Taylor was not a permanent settler either, but had only stopped here while on his way to California with a drove of cattle and purchased the interests of Lyons, where he kept his stock until the spring, when he continued on his lonely trek across the continent.

During the year 1852 John Cears, one of the best reputed men of the  township, came here and located on section 3. 

Azariah Root settled on section 11 in the fall of 1853, together with his family.  He constructed a cabin of logs with a frame addition.

Abner Root settled on section 11 in the fall of 1853.  Accompanying him was his father. Four years later he removed to section 12 and erected a frame house, in which he lived for several years.  In 1876 he moved to Eureka Township.  He served as the first sheriff of Adair County.

In 1855 John Martin located upon section 12 and acted as the agent of John G. Vawter, a merchant of Winterset, on this land, which belonged to Vawter and a partner named Lansing.  Martin continued to live here until 1866, when he moved to Kansas and there died.

J. J. Leeper, afterward county judge, made a settlement on section 34 in 1854, but left here for Washington Township two years later.

John Kenney located upon section 5 in 1855, where he lived until 1860, when he went to the State of Kansas.  He later moved to California.

William Johnson, a former resident of Michigan, was a settler of the year 1856, locating upon the northeast quarter of section 4 during that year.

George Miller settled on section 23 or 24 about the year 1856.  He was from Wayne County, Ind., and while here followed the trade of carpentering in connection with his farming.

J. P. Sullivan, a native of Monroe County, Ind., came here in 1856 and settled upon the northeast quarter of section 24, where he lived for twenty years.  In 1876 he left here and moved to Nebraska, and later to Kansas.  J. B. Sullivan located in this township on section 34 in 1856.

John W. Stinman came to Adair County in 1857 and first rented the farm of J. J. Walter on section 11, where he remained two years, then removed to the farm of George Rider, staying there also for two years.  He then bought a piece of land on section 9, and there built a log house, 16 by 18 feet, in 1860.  In this he lived about eight years.  The house was torn down in 1884.  He moved from his log house to a more commodious residence which he had constructed in 1863.

Eli Roberts came from Clarke County, Ia., in 1857 and took up his residence with J. B. Sullivan.  He was engaged in breaking land for other parties and in 1859 constructed a house on the Sullivan place.  In 1861 he moved to Oregon and from there to Colorado, where he died in 1882.

G. P. Rider made a settlement on section 22 in 1858.  He came from New York State and returned there in 1860.

Aaron Codner made a settlement on section 15 in 1863 and remained for many years, or until 1877, when he went to Kansas.

Lemuel Lewis came to this township in 1863 and located on section 5.  He was a native of Tompkins County, N. Y.

Among the settlers of 1865 were John Hall Bryant on section 12 and F. V. Jeffreys on section 3.  S. M. Kendrick settled on section 32 in 1866, lived there ten years, and then moved to Nebraska.

Joel A. Aspinwall moved to Adair County in 1869.  He became interested in this territory through his uncle, Doctor Bates.

August W. Rechtenbach, a native of Germany, came here in 1869, and became one of the foremost citizens in Jackson Township.

Gustave G. Rechtenbach, also a native of Germany, located here in 1880.

Truman L. Lewis came to Fontanelle in 1863 with his parents.  He was a native of New York State.  When he first came to Fontanelle he clerked for J. C. Gibbs and worked in and about town until the spring of 1866, when he entered the farming vocation.

Henry J. Roos came to Adair County in 1881 and located upon 160 acres of land in Jackson Township.  He was a native of Germany.

Henry Burg, born in Germany, served in the Civil war in the 140th Illinois Infantry, and then came to Adair County and located in Jackson township.

Jacob Burg, a brother of Henry, came to Adair County in 1879 and located on section 18.

Edwin R. Faurote located in Summerset Township, this county, in 1871, and after several months there came to Jackson Township.  John Hall Bryant, a grandfather of Mrs. Faurote, came to Adair County in 1865 and settled on section 12, Jackson Township.

Norman Norton came to the township in 1861 from Cass County, Ia., and in 1864 settled on section 4.  He was justice of the township in 1862 and again in 1880-81, also has been township trustee.

John Latas came to Adair County in 1868.  He was a native of Poland, served in the Austrian army during the Hungarian war, and in 1850 escaped from the army to England, and from thence came to America, where he wandered considerably over the country before settling down in Jackson Township.

George Reis, from Germany, located here in 1880.  Here he became identified as a very successful farmer.

Josiah A. Daugherty came to this county on May 31, 1869, and bought 175 acres of land from Truman Poce.  He was a Pennsylvanian, born in 1829.

Isaac Bailey, from Ohio, came to Adair County in the fall of 1873 and bought a farm.


The first election for township officers was held in October, 1861, at the house of Abner Root.

The first preaching in the township was at the home of Alfred Jones, Sr., by Rev. Harris Standly.

The first election in Jackson Township was held in 1853, while this county was a part of Cass County, at which time Alfred Jones, Sr., was elected justice of the peace.

The first marriage in the township was that of Joseph W. Betts and Polly C. Thompson on August 18, 1856.  The ceremony was performed by Judge Azariah Root.

The pioneer steam mill of the county was built in Jackson Township by Mr. Vawter on section 11 in 1859.  This was in what was called Vawter's Grove, the greater part of which was claimed by Willis Lyons in 1852, but which claim he sold out to a Mr. Taylor, who in turn disposed of it to Vawter and Lansing, partners.  The mill was not a paying investment and was soon afterwards removed.

The first death in Jackson township was that of Mrs. John Martin, which occurred on December 24, 1860.  The body of the deceased was interred on Azariah Root's farm, but in 1869 was disinterred and placed in the cemetery on section 12.

The first child born in the township was that of Miniture Jones in 1853.

For early educational statistics relative to Jackson Township, see the chapter on the progress of education in Adair County.


Jackson Township was organized in 1861 and the first election occurred on October 8th at the house of Abner Root, at which time the following officers were chosen:  Abner Root,  E. Whitney and James Tolen, trustees;  J. P. Sullivan, clerk;  J. B. Sullivan, assessor;  N. Norton and N. S. Taylor, justices and road supervisors.


There was a postoffice called Jackson established in 1872 with Ed Bancroft as postmaster.  He ran it for about two years when he was succeeded by Lemuel Lewis in April, 1874.


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