History of Middlefield 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


Middlefield Township was regularly organized and set off as a separate township on September 21, 1858. Following is the order of the county court: "Be it known, that on this twenty first day of September, 1858, on petition of Philetus Mackey and Albert Risley and others, a new township in said county is hereby constituted and formed, consisted of the thirty six sections of congressional township 88, range 7, and in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants thereof, it is ordered to be styled Middlefield. Signed, Stephen J. W. Tabor, county judge."

The first election was held at one of the schoolhouses in the fall of 1858 and the following officers were elected: G. Smith, R. Stoneman and M. Broadstreet, trustees; Daniel Leatherman, assessor and constable.


The first settler in Middlefield was Patrick M. Dunn. He located in the southeast part of the township on April 2, 1850. His location was in the center of a heavy mass of timber, on the banks of Buffalo Creek. He was a native of Kings County, Ireland, having been born there in the first year of the nineteenth century. His companions in the forest when he settled here were mostly Indians and wild game. Food was the big question with him, as with hundreds of other pioneers, and he often traveled two weeks continuously to Quasqueton after meal with which to make bread for his family.

Daniel Leatherman and his family were the next to settle in this township. They came June 2, 1854, and settled on the prairie, living in their covered wagons until a home was built. A few acres were broken this year and a little sod corn raised, also a patch of watermelons. His was the only house built out on the prairie and probably the first frame structure in the township. The stage road from Dubuque by way of Coffins Grove to Quasqueton passed by their house, and this was the only house on the line, a distance of twenty three miles. At night a light was placed in the east window of the upstairs of the house, so that travelers from Coffins Grove might be guided. It is said that when Leatherman first came to the township he put in most of his time teaming between Dubuque and Quasqueton, a distance of seventy miles. Most of the lumber with which he built his house was drawn from the Town of Dubuque. Leatherman was one of the first magistrates of the township.

R. Stoneman settled in the township in 1855 and was Leatherman's first neighbor. He lived here about ten years and then went to Kansas.

George Smith was another pioneer who came about the same time as Leatherman. He also removed to Kansas after the death of his wife, eight years after his coming. He was a Wesleyan minister and held the first religious services in the settlement.

William Broadstreet became a settler of the township in 1854, not far from Leatherman's place. He afterward removed to Liberty Township.

A Mr. McWilliams settled in the township in June, 1854, coming from the State of Ohio. He lived here until 1865, when he moved to the southern part of the state. His son Henry was killed in the same battle in the Civil war in which Leatherman's son met his death.

Stillman Berry came to the state in May, 1855; and settled first at Quasqueton, but in the same year bought land in Middlefield Township. He was a native of Maine.


A cemetery company was organized here about 1874. The grounds had been used previously for the burying of the dead, but the association was not formed until the above year.

A postoffice was established here in about 1872 and L. P. Stitson was the first postmaster. The office was called Middlefield.

The birth of Edward L. Leatherman on April 4, 1855, was the first in the township.

The first wedding was that of Willard S. Blair and Permelia Ann Leatherman on June 24, 1855.

The first religious services ever held in the township were by Rev G Smith in 1855, in the schoolhouse which had just been built.

The first crop raised in the township consisted of turnips, raised by Patrick M. Dunn, also a little sod corn and a few potatoes. Dunn also raised the first wheat in 1851.

The first school taught in the township was in a house which Leatherman and several others had, constructed, and the first teacher was Malinda Gageby, later Mrs. Samuel Braden. The house was paid for by subscriptions, and in this same way the teacher received her remuneration. Henry Blank, A. Scott, R. Stoneman and Nancy Merrill also taught in the early schools of this township. The second schoolhouse was built near Stillman Berry's place, in about the center of the township.

The first entry of land in Middlefield Township was made by Patrick Dunn.

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