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

Volume 1.


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This township is watered by the Middle River and its branches.  The stream enters the township on section 7, flowing in a diagonal course through sections 18, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 35 and 36, leaving the township on the latter section.  At one time there was quite a quantity of timber in this township.


Harrison Township originally comprised all the territory contained in Lincoln, Grand River and Union townships.

The first to seek a home in Harrison Township was William McDonald, who was also one of the first settlers of Adair County.  He settled upon section 26 in August, 1849, where he erected a small log cabin.  In the spring of 1850 he moved his family here.  During the same year he raised a small crop of corn, wheat, etc., which was the first agricultural work accomplished in the township.

James Roberts was another of the first comers to this township, settling with his family on section 36 on September 19, 1854.  His first dwelling was a small log cabin, with stick and clay chimney.  At that time they were compelled to journey to a point below Winterset to get their corn ground and to Indianola for flour.  Roberts was a Kentuckian.

Robert J. Murphy came to Adair County on the 1st of September, 1854, and located upon section 25 in Harrison Township.

Zebulon Hollingsworth made a settlement in the fall of 1854, coming from his native state, Indiana.  He died in 1858 in Madison County.

In April, 1855, William Thomas settled upon section 32.  He was born in Madison County, Ky.

During the summer of 1855 Manning Drake came to the township.  He kept a stage station in the eastern part for some time.  He was elected to the office of county judge, but did not qualify.  He afterward disposed of his property and left the county.

Charles Friend made a settlement in this township prior to the fall of 1855.  William Stinson also settled about the same time as Friend.

Samuel W. Pryor, a native of Tennessee, came from Washington County, Ia., and made a settlement in Harrison on August 1, 1856, on section 34.

S. W. Pryor was for several years county surveyor and kept an important stage station on the route between Fontanelle and Winterset.  He was well known among the early settlers.

William McAferty settled on section 20 in the year 1857.

Another of the pioneer settlers of the township was George Wright, a Kentuckian.  He came here in 1857 and entered land on section 13.

Edward Lee made a settlement on section 34 in the fall of 1859.  He was native of England, coming to this country in 1849.

John B. Rodgers is another of the first comers.  He came in the spring of 1861.  He was deputy auditor for one year, after which he engaged in the insurance and land business at Orient and Port Union.


The organization of Harrison County occurred in 1856, Charles McDonald being elected the first clerk.


A postoffice was established in 1857 in Harrison Township, on section 34, with Daniel A. Pooram as postmaster and was called Arbor Hill.  About a year afterwards he left the township and Samuel W. Pryor received an appointment to the office by President Buchanan, and he held the same until 1868.  The highest salary received either of these years was $28 and the smallest $4 per annum.  The office was on the Winterset and Greenfield route, but was afterward removed to Port Union.  Dissatisfaction resulted from the change, it being somewhat out of the way, and the carrier refused to take the mail to the office.  A petition was immediately circulated, which resulted in a daily mail from Stuart to Greenfield.


A store was opened at Port Union in January, 1883, by Fisher Brothers, who carried a general stock.  The postoffice was in this building and J. W. Fisher was the postmaster.

There was also another general store at this point, owned and operated by J. B. Rodgers.

Steward Fisher had the first blacksmith shop at this point and Gottlieb Bornmann operated a wagon shop.


The first mill in the township was erected in 1870 on section 20 by Beaman & Thomas, residents of the township.  They died before it was completed, there being but a week between the two deaths.  It was then sold at administrator's sale to Parrish & Headley, who completed it in 1872 and continued to operate it for a year and a half, at the expiration of which time the former bought out the interest of the latter and operated it for two years longer.  The Beaman heirs then purchased the mill, but retained it only for nine months, when they sold to F. H. Parrish.  On November 10, 1883, it was sold at referee's sale to Thomas Salisbury and in January, 1884, he sold to J. B. Rodgers.

The first child born in Harrison Township was a daughter to John and Sarah J. (McDonald) Stinson and was christened Mary J.

The first death occurred in 1850, being a child of William McDonald.  It was buried in the Roberts cemetery.

William Stinson and a Miss Crow were the first people to be married in the township.

William McDonald broke the first ground in the spring of 1850 and planted the first corn, being seven acres in the sod.  The year following he sowed the first wheat in the township.

The first religious services were held in 1855, by the Christian Church, at the houses of James Roberts and William McDonald, with Rev. Adam Kellison as the first preacher.

Mount Zion church of Harrison Township was organized in 1855 and was located on section 9.  Services were held at first at the residences of the different members.  A building was constructed in the summer of 1881.  Rev. J. B. McGinnis was the first pastor after the church building was constructed.

The cemetery in connection with Mount Zion Church was laid out in February, 1876.  The first interment was that of the body of Joshua Jones, a brother of Elijah Jones.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church started an organization in the'70s, with a first membership of six people.  They held their first church services at a schoolhouse on section 8.  The first pastor of the church was Rev. James Mumford of Kansas.


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