History Fairbank Township, Buchanan County, IA
From: History of Bachanan County, Iowa And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chicago 1914


Fairbank Township was organized as a. separate township on March 5, 1855. The county record follows: "It is ordered by the court that township 90 north, of range 10 west, be detached from Perry Township, and that it hereafter be and form a separate township to be called Alton and that an election be holden in said township on the first Monday in April next, at the house of George Beatty, in said township, and that George Beatty, Miles Soper and Sampson George be the judges of said election. The court further orders that the west tier of sections on township 90, range 9, be detached from Perry Township and hereafter form a part of Superior Township."

About a year after the above order was made the name of the township was changed to Fairbank and afterward the name Superior was changed to Hazleton.

Although the election was ordered for April it was not held until August of that year and then in a log schoolhouse owned by Charles Cheesbrough. The following were elected at this time J. M. Soper, Jacob Minton and William Beatty, trustees; W. S. Clark, clerk; Fred Patterson, assessor; W. S. Clark and Fred Patterson, justices; and Justus Durham and James Patehen, constables.


William S. Clark made the first permanent settlement in the township in 1849, in the southern part, on the farm afterward owned by John C. Stephenson. Clark was the first magistrate of the township, also the first clerk, and is remembered as one of the earliest teachers.

Alexander Stevenson settled here in September, 1850, coming from the State of Indiana. He was one of the founders of the Presbyterian Church here.

Robert Wroten settled here in the fall of 1851. He also was a pioneer Presbyterian.

Justus A. Durham settled in the township in 1852. He lived in the southern part of the township all of his life.

F. J. Everett located in the north part of Fairbank Township in 1853. He and C. W. Bacon, who came with him built the first log cabin in that part of the township. They shortly afterward built a saw mill on the Wapsie, where Fairbank is now located. In this business venture they were very successful. In 1860 Everett opened a store in the community. He also filled the offices of justice and school director during his life here.

Frederick Patterson came here in January, 1854, and settled near the location of Everett. He assisted in building the cabin owned by Everett and Bacon. Patterson soon erected a building which he used as a hotel, which tavern was probably the first one in the township. The same building, with additions, was later used by Jacob Myers for the same purpose. Patterson, with R. Conable and several other men, built a steam saw mill in 1855. In 1859, however, he sold out his interests and moved to Michigan, thence to Missouri.

Jordan Harrison became a settler, here in the autumn of 1853, coming from Illinois. He immediately entered the land he selected from the Government and here spent his entire life.

Jacob Minton came in 1852 and constructed his log house in the south part of the township. He abandoned his family in April, 1865, and went to Indiana, thence to Texas where he married a woman who had departed from this township the same time as he. His first wife continued the management of the place here successfully and raised her children to good standing in the community.

George Beatty settled in the central part of the township in the fall of 1853. He was a Protestant Methodist preacher and constructed a small stone church at Fairbank Village.

J. M. Soper came to the north part in 1852 and was one of the organizers of the township and was elected trustee at the first election.


The first postoffice was established in this township in 1854 and C. W. Bacon was appointed postmaster. He kept the office in the small cabin which he and Everett had built when they first came. Fred Patterson was the first mail carrier, going once a week to Independence to get the mail. In 1866 an office was established in the southern part of the township and named Kier. James M. Walker was appointed the first postmaster. This office. was abolished on June 30, 1902.

The first wheat raised in the township was in 1851 in the southern part, where the first settlement was made by Clark and Stevenson.

A cemetery was established in the Village of Fairbank in 1856. It is now owned and controlled by a cemetery company. Another was later established near the old Kier postoffice.

In the year 1855 a school was kept in the home of Charles Cheseborough by Emma Connor. In the same year another was added in the north part of the township and taught by Miss Lou Addis. Another was added in the Sill district by Moody Clark. Among the other early teachers were Capt. H. H. Sill, N. Baldwin and J. Byron Wait.

The first crop raised in the township was of corn by W. S. Clark in 1850. The first grist mill in the township was constructed by J. G. Hovey about 1854,

The first death here was that of a child of Solomon Qinther in 1852.

The first white child born in the township was Thomas Wroten.

The first marriage was probably between Solomon Ginther and Miss E. Phillips, the ceremony being performed by W. S. Clark in 1850.

In the year 1854 there was a saw mill constructed near the present Village of Fairbank by Bacon and Everett. It remained for two or three years. A grist mill and flouring mill was put up here about 1855 by Naylor and Harrington and later became the property of Minkler and Nichols. John McCuniff started a distillery here about 1856 on the east side of the river. He continued for three or four years very successfully, then for some unknown reason closed up. This was the only distillery ever in the township and county.


In the year 1854 a village was laid out and platted in the north part of the township by F. J. Everett and C. W. Bacon and called Fairbank. Afterwards an addition was made thereto by Frederick Patterson and at this time there have been three or four more additions to the original plat. The first store to be opened in this new town was by John McCuniff in 1855, the lumber of which it was built being sawed from oak logs at Everett and Bacon's mill

The City of Fairbank has had a rapid growth in the last few decades and is now one of the most enterprising and prosperous cities in the county. The advent of the Chicago and Great Western Railroad gave a decided impetus to the growth of the town, giving them a splendid trading and shipping facility.

The fact of the town's excellent condition is attested in no stronger way than by the two banks which do business there. The Fairbank State Bank was established first in 1891 as the Citizens Bank, a private institution, and on May 24, 1897, was chartered as the above first named, with the following first officers: G. W. McNeely, president; Charles Higbee, vice president; and W. F. Treadwell cashier. The present officers are: C. B. Everett, president; G. W. McNeely, vice president; W. L. Murphy, cashier; A. H. Nieman, teller; F. W. Fox, bookkeeper.

The Farmers State Savings Bank was incorporated on May 24, 1910, with the following officers: L. Shoenut, president; C. H. Kuenzel, vice president; G. F. Monroe, cashier. The present officers are: O. F. Leonard, president; F. A. Klinger, vice president; V. W. Davis, cashier; H. L. Mealey, bookkeeper.

More detailed history of these banks may be found in the second volume of this work.

Not only is the business and financial life of Fairbank well developed, but there is a social spirit which is commendable. The lodges of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen of America, Mystic Toilers and Relief Corps are all well represented in Fairbank with full membership, the Masons at this time being the strongest with about eighty members. This is Fairbank Lodge No. 148. There' are also many clubs in the churches and several among the women of the town.

The City of Fairbank was incorporated in October, 1891. The petition to the county court for right of holding an election was signed by the following: G. W. Bothwell, Allen Thompson, Theodore Dodge, S. J. King, and M. S. Hitchcock. The election was ordered on May 12, 1891.


The Baptist Society was organized in the township in the year 1859 with about eighteen members. Among these first members were: James Sanborn, J. A. Durham and wife, S. P. Cramer, Morrill Sanborn, E Sanborn, Deacon Norris and wife, and Jason Nichols and wife. Shortly after the organization of this society they constructed a frame house of worship. In the early '90s another church building was erected, which has been remodeled several times since. The present membership is about one hundred and seventy five and the congregation is in charge of Rev. Arthur Woods.

The Presbyterian Church was organized in the township in 1856 at what was called the Stone Church with six members, among whom were F. J. Everett, C. W. Bacon and James Sankey and wife. The first pastor and the one to whom a great deal of credit is due for the organization was J. D. Caldwell. The lack of members, however, has compelled the disbandment of this church. The last services were held some time in 1898.

The Lutheran Society in Fairbank was organized November 18, 1868, with twenty seven members. The first preacher to attend this society was named Buckrer. Before the erection of their first house of worship in 1865 they held services in the public schoolhouse. This house of worship has been extensively remodeled and also a comfortable parsonage has been erected. The congregation at the present time numbers about forty people.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception was organized here in about 1858 at the McCuniff schoolhouse. Father Shields, the resident priest of Waverly at that time, was the first to attend the Fairbank society. He was succeeded by Father John Gosker, of Independence. In 1868 the large stone church was constructed and the first priest to settle here was Eugene Sullivan, succeeded by G. Stack. Thomas Murtagh came next in 1875. The present church has been remodeled several times and a. splendid pastoral residence, all of which is valued at about ten thousand dollars.

The Methodist Episcopal Society was organized in 1865 with eight members at the place then known as the Stone Church. There had been preachers in the township before this date of organization, but the number of people of the faith did not justify the formation of the society. The first sermon in the township was in 1852 at the house of Alexander Stevenson by Rev. D. Gill, of Independence. The church now possess a church structure and parsonage all valued at about the sum of three thousand dollars.

There are a number of people of the Episcopal faith in Fairbank, but there has never been a definite organization of the society. Meetings are held occasionally, however, in one of the other churches or in the school.

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