History of Jefferson 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


It is recorded that the first actual settlers in Jefferson Township were J. B. Stainbrook and his family on June 13, 1850. He came from the State of Pennsylvania, having been born there on September 29, 1823. Stainbrook's first act after coming to this country was the entering of land from the Government and later he purchased the same land. The log house he constructed stood for many years as a monument to the early settlement of the county. His brother in law, Henry Albert, also came with him, but later settled in Benton County.

In the fall of 1850 Peter Albert, the father in law of J. B. Stainbrook, came to the township accompanied by his wife and four children; Nicholas Albert and family; and Phillip Zinn with his wife and four children. These people composed the colony during the winter of 1850. Their supplies were obtained from Cedar Rapids, and the trip was generally made in three days, averaging ten miles per day. Once a week they sent a man thirty miles to Marion for their mail. Outside of these necessary excursions the only departure from the cabins was when the men started to hunt the wild game for food.

Another of the early settlers of this community is Jacob Fouts. He was born in the State of Ohio in 1808 and came to Iowa in 1852. He lived here until his death in 1874.

William Rouse settled in Jefferson Township in February, 1851, on land which he afterward entered from the Government. He was a native of Tennessee. John Rouse, or Jack as he was called, father of William, came to section 13 in 1851, where he settled a tract of twenty acres. He was noted as a great hunter and he spent most of his time while here in the pursuit of the pleasure. The game becoming more scarce he moved to Nebraska. in 1862. The first election in the township was held in his house and he himself was elected one of the magistrates. Abel Cox, son in law of John Rouse, and a native of Indiana, came in the spring of 1851 and settled near Rouse, on the same section.

John Frink settled in this community in 1852, coming from the State of Illinois. He first settled in a grove three miles north of Brandon, the place still bearing his name. An act of the general assembly of 1856 said that the name of Frink's Grove be changed to Avon. He was one of the first magistrates in the township. His son, John, kept a tavern on the state road in the early days. This was the first and only whiskey house in the township. This grove later became known as Shady Grove and a postoffice was established there. The office was subsequently abolished. At present there is a store in the village and a few residences.


The Township of Jefferson was set aside by order of the county judge on March 1, 1852. The record of the order is as follows: It is ordered by the court that township 87, range 9, and township 87, range 10, of the County of Buchanan, compose one precinct to be called Jefferson Precinct, and that an election be held in said precinct, on the first Monday in April next, at the house of John Rouse." A change was made in the township on July 29, 1858, when Congressional township 87, range 9, was severed therefrom and constituted one township under the name of Homer.

The first election was held at the home of John Rouse at the above date and eleven votes were cast. J. B. Stainbrook, Abel Cox and Joseph Rouse were elected as trustees; John Rouse and John Frink were selected as justices; Alonzo Frink, assessor; and John Rice, township clerk.

The second election was held where Brandon now stands, on Lime Creek, with about the same number of votes.


The first school in Jefferson Township was a private or subscription school. A petition was circulated around among the people of the township for the purpose of hiring a teacher and buying a stove. Enough money was raised in this manner to justify the opening of the class. Jacob Fouts gave them a log house, or the use of it, in the Village of Brandon. Mrs. William Boyles was selected to be the teacher of the new school. The first class was composed of twenty scholars. This was in the winter of 1854.

The first regular schoolhouse was constructed in Brandon on Lime Creek by Ed Webster. Soon after another was built in the Lizer district and also one in the Boone district. In the year 1880 a large modern school was constructed in Brandon and in the early years of the twentieth century an excellent brick edifice was put up for the accommodation of the grade schools and the high school. Among the early teachers in this vicinity were Wellington Town and R. P. Nelson.

The early physicians were Drs. B. F. Muchmore, Stimpson and J. B. Darling. The first hotel was kept by E. C. Wilson. The first blacksmith was Free Youndt. The first entry of land was made by William McCay on section 28. The first wedding of which there is any account was that of Davis Fouts and Julia Albert on August 5, 1852. They resided here until 1877 when they moved to Woodbury County.

The years 1855 and 1856 are years remembered by every old settler. In the former year occurred a very early frost, coming on August 31st, and the corn crop was entirely destroyed. In the next year a terrific hail storm, coming out of the north, passed through the township and again destroyed the corn crop. Scarcely a stalk was left standing. Roofs of the cabins were blown away and one or two houses were turned over. It is said that even the bark on the north side of the trees was blown off. The following winter was one of the most severe in the history of the county. The snow obtained at one time the depth of four feet on the level. Many of the settlers lived on boiled corn which they procured in Linn County at $1.25 per bushel.

The first fruit was cultivated in that township by John S. Bouck. He began the first fruit nursery and possessed a splendid orchard in the northwestern part of the township. Severe winters soon destroyed his trees and plants, however.

A cemetery was established in the township in 1853 and was located on the farm owned by Mr. Beachler, about a mile from Brandon. The first person buried here was a little girl by the name of Pella, who was accidentally burned to death. This was also the first death in the township. The second to be interred in the cemetery was Noah Taylor, a youth of eighteen years, in 1854.

In 1859 a second cemetery was established near Brandon and adjoined the plat on the west at that time. The third was located two miles east of Brandon, at Green Wood Chapel, under the management of the Wesleyan Methodists.


In the early spring of 1911 an election was held in Jefferson Township, at Brandon, to consider whether or not to consolidate the schools. After this election was over, the judges of election discarded three ballots which were mutilated. The count then stood one vote in favor of consolidation. The school continued as a consolidated school the next year. In the meantime an injunction was brought by those opposed to consolidation and in the fall of 1912 the question was taken before the county court. The court decided that the three ballots which had been discarded should be counted. As one of them was for and two of them against consolidation, it resulted unfavorably to the former result. The court gave the township one month to call another election. When this was held, it was conducted under the new law which had passed the legislature, stating that elections in townships should be held in the town and township separately. School was dismissed for one month prior to this election.

When the ballots were counted, the votes in Brandon were a majority of twenty one for the consolidation and four in favor of the consolidation in the township, making twenty five majority in all.

This new method of education has done away with the numerous small district schools and brings the scholars of the township into closer and more general communication with each other. The old school building at Brandon was extensively remodeled in the year 1911. This is a new feature in Iowa, having gradually been coming West from the Eastern states. Three transportation hacks are used to carry the pupils from their homes to the school. There are now five teachers employed in the consolidated school, which school is under the supervision of the district directors as heretofore.


The present Town of Brandon is located in the southwestern portion of Jefferson Township. The village was platted and laid out by S. P. Brainard, Jacob Fouts and E. C. Wilson in the year 1854.

The first store to be opened up and the first stock of goods to be put on sale was by S. P. Brainard. W. H. Fouts soon after became his partner in the business and subsequently bought the interest of Brainard and continued the business alone for several years. S. P. Brainard was also the first postmaster when the office was established in 1855 in the town and W. H. Fouts was the second. A. B. Edwards, James Romig, J. N. Bissell, Nellie Bissell and John Bain were other early postmasters.

From a small inland town sixteen miles from the county seat and with no railroad, Brandon has made rapid strides and is one of the best towns of its size in Iowa. With the advent of the Cedar Valley Road, electric interurban, close connection with the Waterloo, Cedar Falls and within the last two months with Cedar Rapids, has been established. This was in 1906. There are over forty freight and passenger trains daily over this road and the freight shipments from Brandon exceed those of any other town on the road. As an instance, in the two months of September and October more grain and hogs were shipped from Brandon than any other town in Buchanan County.


The Town of Brandon was incorporated in the year 1905. The first regular meeting of the city council was held on April 3d of that year. W. D. McLiesh was mayor; W. W. Bain, clerk; R. A. I3uckmaster, treasurer; John Bain, M. J. Hyde, J. H. Douglas, J. E. Haines, C. C. Thompson and W. E. Miller, councilmen.

In 1906 J. H. Douglas and E. Lizer were chosen as councilmen. On April 2d James Bearhower was appointed marshal. W. D. MeLiesh resigned his office as mayor on June 4, 1906, and on August 28th W. Jameson was appointed by the city council to fill the vacancy. On February 11, 1907; W. Jameson filed, a bond as assessor. On April 1, 1907, Robert Shillinglar and W. E. Miller were elected councilmen. W. W. Bain was elected mayor this year. Charles W. McClintick was appointed marshal, B. B. Brown was appointed street commissioner and R. H. Hamer appointed clerk. On December 2, 1907, the office of treasurer was declared vacant by the council and V. W. Doris was elected to fill the vacancy. In 1908 M. Nelson was sworn in as a member of the council. On August 7th W. A. Albert was appointed clerk to fill the vacancy made by the resignation of R. H. Hamer. At the 1909 election W. W. Bain was elected mayor; V. W. Doris, treasurer; E. W. Miller, assessor; C. C. Thompson and L. A. Bachler, councilmen. W. A. Albert was elected clerk later. J. L. Weart was appointed street commissioner to succeed McClintick. J. W. Hines was made marshal. On December 6th Nelson and Shillinglar moved away and C. R. Bolton and J. S. Blair were appointed to fill the vacancy. The 1911 city election resulted as follows: J. S. Blair, mayor; Walter Jameson, assessor; W. Doris, treasurer; L. N. Trunk, street commissioner; James Hines, marshal; W. A. Albert, clerk; C. Bollen, J. L. Weart, W. H. Albert, W. E. Miller, H. Crumrine, councilmen. On February 20, 1912, W. Jameson resigned as assessor and Levi Zwinger was appointed to fill the vacancy. The subject of a jail was brought before the council on May 6, 1912, and they decided to construct a bastile 10 by 12 by 8 feet in size. On July 1st the council prohibited the firing of firecrackers in the town. The city election of March, 1913, disclosed the following result; J. L. Weart, mayor; W. A. Albert, clerk; W. J. Romig, assessor; Clair Short, treasurer; James Hines, marshal; W. II. Crumrine, street commissioner; J. E. Blair, A. E. Briggs, W. T. Ernster, W. H. Albert and M. W. Kanouse, councilmen.

On June 5, 1914, the town voted on the question of acquiring electricity for the townspeople. The election resulted 50 to 5 in favor of the new utility. Electricians are at present busy erecting poles and wiring the homes of the town and by December 1, 1914, the current will he turned on. The current is bought by the city from the interurban company and is sold to the patrons at a 12 cent rate. The town is making arrangements to maintain thirty street lights. This is the first public utility for Brandon, but plans will be pushed through in the future for further conveniences for the residents.


The Farmers Savings Bank was opened for business on May 12, 1913; the date of the charter is April 21, 1913. The president of this bank is J. D. Sweeney; B. F. Nabholz is vice president, and E. E. Strait is cashier. The capital stock at the present time is $16,000 and the amount of deposits is $65,000. With the opening of the bank the entire corner in which the office is located was bought and is now given a valuation of $3,500.

The Brandon State Savings Bank was organized on March 7, 1906, as a state bank. The present officers are: R. F. Clark, president; Theodore Peck, vice president; W. W. Bain, cashier; directors, R. F. Clark, B. W. Davis, F. P. Davis, Roy A. Cook, Nathan Mass, L. H. Tucker and N. E. Parker. The capital stock is $20,000 and the amount of deposits is $70,000.


The people of Brandon have the reputation of upholding a very high standard of social life in the town. There are many small clubs in the town and each is active in maintaining the proper character of the community. In fact, each and every person considers it his especial duty to guarantee the best surroundings for the children who are growing up and receiving their education here.

The fraternal societies are very strong, among them being the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Rebekalis, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Modern Brotherhood of America and the Yeomen, the latter a lodge recently instituted in Brandon.

A Grand Army of the Republic Post was established at Brandon in 1888. This Post has not been active for several years, owing to the scarcity of members.


The first church to be started in Jefferson Township was the Methodist. The first services were held in private homes as it was some time before the society could build a house of worship. Schoolhouses were also utilized for the purpose of holding meetings. In May, 1856, Rev. D. Donaldson organized the first Methodist Society at the house of J. G. Williams, with a first class of only five members, namely: J. G. Williams, Caroline F. Williams, Thomas Brandon and wife, and daughter Maria. In 1870, the year the frame church was constructed, there was held in Brandon the biggest revival service in the history of the church Enoch Holland was the pastor who conducted these services. At this meeting the proposition for a new church building came before the people and J. B. Stainbrook nobly donated one lot to the church and sold an adjoining lot for the small sum of $25. Upon this lot the frame church was constructed, the church which is now the east half of the new stricture. The revival meeting which preceded the construction of this church was held in the small schoolhouse back of the present meat market Reverend Tinkham was the first pastor in the new church. This church was in the circuit formed by Spring Creek, Bear Creek, Brandon and the Cedar Valley. The church is in splendid condition at the present time, having about one hundred and fifty members and several active societies in the church. Five years ago the old frame church was extensively remodeled and additions made. This year, 1914, a handsome parsonage has been erected and is one of the most modern houses in the town. Rev, H. W. Artman is the present pastor. Before him the following named acted in this capacity: Reverends Tinkham, B. C. Barnes, W. N. Fawcett, Wilkinson, Albert A. Woods, Daniel Sheffer, O. D. Bowles, John M. Rankin, J. B. Jones, D. N. Cooley, R. F. Hurlburt, Rickards, Smith, Jesse Smith, Enoch Holland, Baker, B. L. Garrison, Hayrick, B. A. Wright, J. J. Littleler, Jacob Haymond, Alonzo Camp, W. Lusted, W. N. Brown, F. G. Young, E. R. Leman, John Dawson; J. D. Perry, R. M. Ackerman, W. E. Ross, J. H. Hayward, O. M. Sanford, J. B. Metcalf, Jesse Underwood, J. B. Shoemaker; these names are not in the order of their service as this information was impossible to discover. It is known, however, that all of these men served the church as pastor.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church was organized in February, 1867, with about twenty five members. D. P. Parker was their preacher at this time. The church was known as Greenwood Chapel. This church no longer exists in Buchanan County, having been moved west four miles in Black Hawk County about twenty years ago.

The Reformed Church in the United States was organized December 1, 1860, with twenty members. Rev. Joshua Raile was the first pastor. This church passed out of existence about twenty years ago.

The Christian Church in Brandon was organized on August 3, 1856, in the country north of the city. John Martindale organized the class. The first elders in the church were: W. H. Elliott and wife, Frederick Yount and Mary Yount. The other first members were: Davis Fouts, Juliet Fouts, George W. and Susan Short, Henry and Mary Fouts, Aunt Betsy Fouts, Elsie Fouts, George W. Byfield, Darah Boon, John S. and Lizzie Coats, Emeretta Steckman, W. E. and Isabel Bain, Rhoda E. Albert, Susan Tracy, Robert H Elliott and wife, John and Eliza Bain. A frame church was constructed in 1892, costing $1,500. The present church society consists of eighty members and the societies now active in the church are the Ladies' Aid, the Young People's Christian Endeavor, the Christian Women's Board of Missions. The pastors who have served this church are in order: John Martindale, Josiah Jackson, Cain, Alpheus Applegate, O. E. Brown, Solomon Cross, John Crocker, Daniel Dunkleberger, Overbaugh, Hastings, Samuel B. Ross, Earl Lockhart, Hallett, Ketford, E. Curliss, Carroll, John McKee, Ferguson and Gust H. Cachiaras. For a year and a half the church has been without a regular pastor.

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