History Perry 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


Perry Township was organized as an independent township on February 17, 1853, by order of the county judge. This order follows:

"Ordered by the County Court, that townships 89 and 90 of range 10, Buchanan County, and also the west tier of sections in township 90, range 9, and sections 6 and 7 and west half of sections 18, 89, 9, be, and the same are hereby, separated from Washington Precinct in the same county, and shall, until further orders, form a separate precinct, to be called Perry Precinct; and all orders, so far as they conflict with the above order, are hereby revoked."

Several changes have since been made in the township. Township 89, 10, was set off by itself March 5, 1855, under the name of Alton, now Fairbank; and the west tier of sections in 90, 9 was attached to Superior, now Hazleton. Subsequently, the part belonging to 89, 9 was severed, leaving a square township of thirty six sections.

The first election was held at the home of John Cameron, on April 4, 1853. Henry Bright and W. S. Clark were elected as justices of the peace; Charles Melrose, Gamaliel Walker and John H. Anderson, trustees; and W. S. Clark, clerk.


The first settler in the township is said to have been Charles Melrose, a Scotchman, who came from Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his family, in June, 1849. He entered land, but some error was made in his entry and found that he had claimed land near Jesup. He did not think that land in that locality would ever be valuable, so he procured the aid of Senator G. W. Jones and a special act of Congress was passed, by the terms of which he vacated his entry and placed it in the section he had originally intended.

During the same year that Melrose came, Gamaliel Walker settled in the northwest part of the township, near Littleton. He was undoubtedly the second settler in the township, if Melrose was the first. James Minton came with Walker and continued to live with him until his marriage, which happened soon after his arrival. He then moved to Fairbank, where he stayed for a number of years. He later went to the State of Kansas.

John Cameron settled in the northeast part of the township, in September, 1850. He came from the State of Indiana. Six daughters came here with him Mr. Cameron became a very prominent citizen in the township and county. He assisted in the organization of two Methodist Episcopal churches, filled the office of county supervisor for two years, and was a member of the Masonic order. He was a farmer by trade. The first religious services ever held in the township were conducted at his house.

Martin Depoy and family came to the township in 1850. He had entered his land here the previous year. He was a Virginian, but went to Ohio when six years of age and while there married a sister of John Cameron. He then resided for several years in Indiana, finally coming to Iowa and living at Jesup, where he conducted a grocery.

H. S. Bright settled near Littleton in. 1850. Jacob Slaughter was another early settler in this district. James Shrack came to the township in 1851, accompanied by his family, and settled in the northwestern part of the township. He was noted as an expert hunter and trapper.

The life of the early comers to this township differed very little from that of the men in the other townships. The mill ati Quasqueton, twenty five miles distant, was the only one within reaching distance. The first store of any kind was kept by Sufficool & Marshall in 1856, at the present town of Littleton. Sufficool afterward sold out his interest to John Cameron. The colony in this vicinity once made up a purse between them and dispatched John Cameron to Dubuque for groceries. Upon this trip it is said that Mr. Cameron brought the first plow to the township.

The first hotel was owned and operated in Littleton, by B. C. Hale, and the second one was a mile north of Jesup, kept by Mr. Boardman on the state road. The early doctors were McGonigal, Allen and James Muncy. The first postmaster was Charles Melrose and John Cameron was the first mail carrier. It is said that the first mail consisted of three letters. The first wedding in the township was held at the house of John Cameron in 1852, and the principals were Martin Campbell and Emeline Cameron. Squire W. S. Clark performed the ceremony. A daughter of Isaac Spencer was the first white person to die in the township. The birth of Nancy Melrose on April 1, 1850, was the first in the township. The first bridge constructed in the township was across the Wapsie at Littleton. It was built of wood. The first wheat raised in the township was grown by John Cameron, Martin Depoy, Gamaliel Walker, Jacob Slaughter and Charles Melrose. These men cooperated in raising this first crop. They cut the crop with cradles and sent to Clayton County for a machine to thresh it. J. R. Jones put up the first grain elevator in the township The first school class was taught in Jesup, at the house of R. S. Searls. William Boss was the first depot agent.


The beginning of the town of Jesup may rightly be said to have occurred with the building of the Illinois Central Railroad through this territory in the year 1860. The small village of Barclay, located in Black Hawk County to the west, was relocated at Jesup at this time.

The first store in the town of Jesup was kept by R. S. Searls and this gentleman also did duty as the postmaster. He also is said to have shipped the first carload of stock from the town. The first blacksmith was A. Grattan. A Mr. Marvin probably kept the first hotel: he located before the railroad was put through.

The history of Jesup has been an interesting one. The town has, with the exception of Independence, grown more rapidly than the others in the county, due in no small part to its excellent location on the railroad and the close proximity to Independence and Waterloo, Black Hawk County, alike. This town is equally as good a shipping point as the county seat and the amount of trade conducted through it is larger in proportion.

Of the earlier history of Jesup there are just a few points which stand out. It is true that in the '80s and '90s there was a company of militia in existence here. It was Company I of the First Iowa National Guard. The company was organized February 17, 1877, with F. C. Merrill, captain; H. J. Wolfe, first lieutenant; and C. C. Smith, second lieutenant. The company was composed of about sixty volunteers.

A shirt factory also existed in Jesup in the spring of 1880, owned by R. and H. Cook.

The town of Jesup was incorporated as a city on March 8, 1876. The first officers were: John Anderson, mayor; G. E. Marsh, recorder; H. M. Grayton, G. O. Marsh, Murat Sayles, E. Parker and I. A. Stoddard, trustees. Following Anderson as mayor came the following: H. M. Crayton, C. Hoyt, James Dalton, I. C. Underwood, James Dalton, R. L. Bordner, C. L. Bright, R. L. Bordner, and B. F. Stoddard is the present incumbent. The other officers at present are: C. M. Bright, treasurer; Monroe H. Houser, clerk; S. C. Walker, H. B. Ham, F. H. Lunnemacker, C. B. Gariiere and H. J. Werling, councilmen.

In the election of March, 1881, the people voted to abolish saloons in the town and this decision has never been changed.

The water supply of the city was first established as a public utility in 1903. The water was at first pumped from wells by air pressure, but in August, 1911, this plant blew up. The city then constructed a tank tower, from which their water pressure is now obtained. The electric light plant of the city is owned by private individuals, Young and Frush. The plant was put in during the summer of 1913 and now is devoted to street lighting almost exclusively. Gasoline gas is used more in the residences.

The Jesup State Bank was organized October 11, 1901, and all stock was subscribed and paid in by November 30th of that year. The capital stock was $25,000. The first board of directors was composed of Ed Mullaney, J. H. Carey, John T. Burrell, Z. A. Comfort, C. L. Bright and M. R. Considine. J. H. Carey was the first president, Comfort the vice president, Bright the cashier. J. H. Carey passed to his death in September, 1905, and was succeeded by Z A Comfort. John T. Burrell died in December, 1913, and was succeeded by M. R. Considine. The bank opened for business on January 28, 1902. Monroe H. Houser was employed as assistant cashier in November, 1905, and in January, 1913, C. R. Miller was employed as second assistant cashier. In 1912 the bank building was enlarged to suit the needs of the institution. The capital stock is the same now as at the beginning, the surplus is $18,000 and the deposits amount to $240,000.

The Farmers Bank of Jesup, of which the Farmers State Bank is the successor, was organized in 1879 as a private bank. Thomas Taylor was president; J. A. Laird, vice president; and George S. Murphy, cashier. On December 30, 1882, the affairs of the Farmers Bank of Jesup were cleared up and on the same date the First National Bank of Jesup, with $50,000 capital was organized by the former owners of the Farmers Bank. The officers of the National Bank were the same. On April 15, 1886, the shareholders of the First National voted unanimously to go into voluntary liquidation and very soon thereafter the affairs of the bank were closed up, all indebtedness being paid. On April 15, 1886, the principal owners of the National Bank again engaged in the banking business under the name of Farmers Bank, a copartnership, with the same officers as those of the old First National. The Farmers Bank continued the banking business in Jesup until June 24, 1903, when it was succeeded by. the Farmers State Bank, a. corporation with $25,000 capital, organized under the laws of Iowa. Thomas Taylor was president of the Farmers Bank until it dissolved and J. A Laird and Isaac Neely were the vice presidents. James Dalton was cashier from December, 1888, until 1903. James Dalton was elected president and L. S. Hovey, vice president. M. E. Dalton and A. M. Dalton were at subsequent dates elected cashier. In 1910, W. W. Blasier, the present cashier, was elected. L. S. Hovey, the vice president, died late in the year 1913 and M. G. Young was elected vice president to succeed him. James Dalton was elected president of the Farmers State Bank in 1903 and has held this position until the present time.

Another interesting topic in Jesup is the newspapers. There have been many, so many in fact that they are confusing The first newspaper in the town was the Jesup Recorder. This was started in the spring of 1869 by Cole and Shinner and continued for about a year, when it was removed to Eariville. In about 1874, W. H. Hutton started another sheet called the Jesup Vindicator, which, in the spring of 1879, he moved to Independence and changed the name to the Buchanan County Messenger. This paper shortly died. George E. Roberts, now prominently connected with the treasury department of the United States, owned the Vindicator one year before he sold to Hutton. On October 10, 1879, A. H. Farwell established the Buchanan County Journal, which he conducted for several years, in 1881 moving the plant to Independence and joining the Bulletin, of that place.

Perhaps no paper in the country had quite so checkered a career as the sheet which started in the '80s under the name of the Jesup Times. It was begun by C. E. Phifer, who sold it to Carver and Losey, then Fred Cornish bought, and he sold Fred Kimball, who changed the name to The Critic, then Grout bought, then to Frank Vierth, then to Hutton, then to W. H. Haines, then to L. W. Smith, then the paper was closed out at sheriff's sale. Phifer and Dickinson then came into possession of the paper and they sold to Dickinson and Moore, then came Rudolph and D. W. Harmon, and then Harmon sold his interest to Mr. Stark. Stark was running the ill fated paper in November, 1899, when Mr. F. R. Place started the Citizens Herald. Stark called his paper the Critic. It lasted two years more after the establishment of the Herald, then sunk into the depths. Mr. Place subsequently changed the name of his paper to the Jesup News and has run the paper very successfully ever since, publishing on Thursday of each week. The business conducted by the publisher is known as the Place Printing Company.

Perry Lodge No. 158, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized at Jesup on January 21, 1868, with five charter members, namely: F. C. Merrill, Charles A. Wattles, Jonathan Richmond, R. S. Smith, and G. Harding The lodge was instituted by Sanford Wells, assisted by members from the Waterloo lodge. Eleven people were initiated on the first night. The first officers were: H. C. Merrill, noble grand; Charles Wattles, vice grand; S. W. Kenyon, secretary; R. L. Smith, treasurer; E. B. Cook, permanent secretary. This lodge is still in flourishing condition and has about one hundred and sixty members. There is also a lodge of Rebekahs in the city.

Parkersburgh Encampment No. 62 was organized at Parkersburgh, Butler County, October 2, 1873. In the spring of 1880, having obtained a dispensation from the chief patriarch, it was removed to Jesup.

The Ancient Free and Accepted Masons came into existence in Jesup in 1866. Among the early members were: J. M. Hovey, J. N. Hovey, R. O. Laird, R. F. Williams, J. R. Jones, A. N. George, C. 1W. Newton, W. R. Harding, C. H. Kenyon, A. Strong, and R. S. Searls. The membership is now 150.

There is also now a lodge of Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen of America, Modern Brotherhood of America, Mystic Toilers, and the Yeomen here. All have the ladies' auxiliary.

John A. Davis Post, Grand Army of the Republic, was organized at Jesup in August, 1881, and named after Colonel Davis of the Seventy sixth Illinois Infantry. The first members of this post were: C. C. Smith, C. W. Baldwin, T. J. Shane, J. J. Randall, H. Bordener, M. Cone, H. S. Rich, J. A. Ross, A. F. Punks, J. Elliott, D. Clubine, D. Casnar, W. H. Dobell, W. Mosher, G. B. Thayer, and H. P. Rice.


The year 1856 was the first year of the existence of this village. This year ushered in a store, hotel, blacksmith shop, saw and grist mill. Mention has been made of these features in the early settlement description of the township. At one time early in her career Littleton was known by the name Chatham.

Littleton was on the boom in 1864, their weekly package of mail contained some two hundred and seventy five papers, and new business concerns were opening up. The mill property had passed exclusively into the hands of H. J. White & Stout and they proposed immediately to improve the mill and to carry on an extensive business in sawing and grinding. Pleasant Grove Seminary was situated in the suburbs of Littleton, under the proficient management of Professor Caldwell, and it was predicted in the paper that Littleton was destined to be a star of the first magnitude in the galaxy of cities in the great Northwest.

Littleton seemed to have possessed the first threshing machine or the first one receiving public notice. It was owned by E. B. Cook and G. Hovey of Perry Township. In 1864 Charles Reynolds was appointed as postmaster to fill the vacancy occasioned by Martha Mosher having resigned. In 1910 the postoffice was discontinued and Littleton is now served by two rural routes, one from Jesup and one from Independence.

The growth of Littleton has been directly contrary to the great plans made in the early days. There is a very substantial class of people living in the village and vicinity, but the town as a town has not much of which to boast. Littleton and Otterville are very similar. Mention of the churches is made in the history of the township churches.

A Methodist Episcopal society was organized in Perry Township at the home of John Cameron in 1853. There were five members, John Cameron, Rachel Cameron, Thomas T. and Elizabeth Cameron and Lucinda Anderson. The first man to preach to this small congregation was Reverend Ashcouch. After a few years the church was transferred to Littleton, where the church exists at the present time.

A Methodist society was organized at Jesup in 1860 and held their first services in a hall and in a convenient schoolhouse. In the year 1869 they constructed a frame house of worship, valued at $4,000, and later a commodious parsonage was built. The early members of the Jesup church were: John Cameron and wife, John Cooper, Fannie Cooper, R. L. Smith and wife, Bertha Smith, Charles Campbell, and Nancy Campbell. Among some of the early pastors to this society were: J. Hankins, Moore, Thomas, Eberhart, Myers, Hardy, Castor, Brennan, Gedwick: Reverend Elwick is the present pastor. A house of worship was constructed in 1900 and also a parsonage. The congregation numbers about one hundred and seventy five.

The Baptist society in Jesup was organized in September, 1866. Their first services were held in Fuller's Hall and afterward, for the purpose of larger quarters, moved to the public schoolhouse. John Fullerton is accredited as being the first preacher for this society. The composition of this society was made up of part of the Barclay church, which had disbanded, and the Jesup people of the faith. A splendid house of worship was dedicated on February 19, 1871. Among the earlier members of the church were: Mr. Abbott and wife, Jacob Wolfe and wife, William Smith and wife, Mrs. E. Parker, and T S Stone and wife. The church is now in charge of Reverend Eastman and the congregation numbers 150 people. The church building has been remodeled several times and a parsonage built.

The first Presbyterian society in Jesup was organized June 4, 1853, in the northeast part of the township and was named the Pleasant Grove church. James S. Fullerton was the first preacher. The first members of this church were: Alexander Stevenson and wife, Robert Wroten and wife, Martin Deploy and wife, and Mrs. Susan Slaughter. This society was transferred to Littleton in the fall of 1856, at a time when there were but twelve members. Rev. J. D. Caldwell was the first preacher and he served many years, until ---. The first house of worship was constructed in 1865 at a cost of $1,000. The second and present house of worship was erected in 1899 and has been improved once. Reverend Knapp has a congregation of 150 people and the church is prosperous. The usual societies are active in the work of the society.

The second Presbyterian society at Jesup was established April 20, 1856. This society was composed largely of former members of the Barclay church. J. D. Caldwell was the first preacher and a house of worship was built soon after the organization which cost approximately four thousand dollars. This church has been merged with the First Presbyterian, the union occurring sonic time in the '90s.

The history of the St. Athanasius Catholic Church at Jesup dates back many years, or to 1863, when Rev. G. Gosker made occasional visits to Jesup and celebrated mass in private houses. Rev. J. Shields later came. In 1878 Rev. P. Burk succeeded Father Gosker as pastor of the church at Independence, with Jesup as a mission, and it was during this time, in 1880, that a Catholic church building was erected. In 1881 Father P. O'Dowd was appointed to the charge. Rev. J. J. Ilorsfield was next and is the present pastor. In 1895 a parsonage was erected and in 1898 a new church building was constructed.

The first preaching services held in Perry Township were held in Alexander's log house. This was in the year 1852 Rev. David Gill, of Independence, was the preacher. The Presbyterian society was organized in the log schoolhouse in the north part of the township on June 4, 1853, by Rev. James S. Fullerton and Elder Vaughn. The charter members were: Alexander and Mary A. Stevenson, Robert Wroten, Nancy Wroten, Martin L. Depoy, Sarah Depoy, and Susannah Slaughter. The first meeting was held on June 5, 1853. Until the fall of 1856 the meetings were held in the log schoolhouse, but in this year they were transferred to Littleton, to the stone schoolhouse. The church building at present in use was erected in 1865 at a cost of $1,000. Numerous times have improvements been made on this building until now it is comfortable and adequate in size for the congregation. The supplies of the church have been: Reverends David Gill, James S. Fullerton, J. D. Caldwell, John M. Boggs, E. C. Bennett, J. C. Melrose, Garlock, E. G. Beyer, Daniel Russell, F. C. McKean, F. Y. Nichols, W. B. Phelps, and L. Knapp. The congregation numbers seventy five people. The church is known as the Pleasant Grove Presbyterian.

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