History of Sumner 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


Sumner Township was set apart as a separate township on March 7, 1857. The order of the court reads as follows: "And now, to-wit, March 7, 1857, it is ordered by the court that township 88, range 9, excepting sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 12, Nos. 1/2 and 38 1/4, section 13, and No. 1/2, section 11, together with sections 30, 31 and 32 in township 88, range 8, and sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of township 87, range 9, and section 6 of township 87, range 8, be set apart and organized into a separate precinct, to be called Sumner; and that an election be holden in said precinct on the first Monday in April next, at the house of John Ginther in said township, for the election of township officers, county assessor and district judge, and such other officers as are by law to be selected at that time; and that a warrant for such election issue to Norman A. Bassett, constable. Signed, O. H. P. Roszell, county judge."

The township was named for the famous Massachusetts senator, Charles Sumner

Several changes have been made in the boundary line of the township since the original planning. Several sections have been taken from it and added to the original congressional townships from which they came. In 1878 the county board of supervisors ordered that the grounds for the Independence State Hospital for the Insane be separated from Sumner Township and annexed to Washington Township.

The first election in the township was held as planned in March, 1857, and the following officers elected: John Ginther, Jube Day, and William Boyack, trustees; B. W. Ogden, justice; and Norman A. Bassett, clerk. At this election there were only twelve votes cast.


The first settler in the township was Michael Ginther. He settled here in the spring of 1847. He made the first entry of land in the township and connected with this occurrence there is a story. He was an uneducated man and when he made his entry he was at loss as to how to describe it. Not wishing to be wrong in his description he carried the corner stake to Dubuque, going there on foot for the purpose. The climax comes when it was found afterward that the entire placing of the entry was wrong, the land being on the wrong section entirely. He had intended to buy the land on which he had settled and on which is the famous spring known as the Ginther Spring, about half way between Quasqueton and Independence, on the west side of the river; and when he found the entry he had really made was one mile west, and out on the prairie, he was completely discouraged, being a poor man and believing that land so far out would never be any good whatever. Mr. Ginther voted at the first election in the county.

John Ginther, a brother of Michael, settled here in the year 1854 on a tract of land in the south part of the township, where he lived his entire life. John Ginther was of German descent. He was one of the original organizers of the township, and it was at his house that the first election was held, also the first religious services.

B. W. Ogden settled in the northern part of the township in 1853, coming here from the State of Ohio. He was a native of Frederick County, Virginia. He had been a school teacher prior to his coming to Iowa and when he got here he resumed his old occupation. He taught the first school in the township in his on log cabin. He was one of the men instrumental in building the first regular schoolhouse in the township and also taught the first term of school there.

Jube Day settled in the western part of the township in 1855 and was one of the first in that section. He was a native of Massachusetts. His residence in this township extended only to 1869, when he removed to Westburgh Township. When he came to Sumner Township his neighbors were all four miles or over from his home, with the exception of R. R. Beach, who settled here with Day. Beach in later years moved to Minnesota

Orlando Cobb settled here in 1853, about a quarter mile south of Independence He developed a splendid farm on this spot, a farm which is still known as one of the best in the county.

William Boyack, a Scotchman, came here in 1854 from the State of Illinois. J. W. Wheeler settled in the township in 1856 and for many years lived on the farm which he settled.


The first school in the township, as before stated, was taught in the winter of 1853, in the north part of the township, by B. W. Ogden. There were twelve scholars, many of them adults, studying primary courses. This was entirely a subscription school. The next winter there was a school at Michael Ginther's, also conducted by Ogden. In 1858 a schoolhouse was constructed in the northern part of the township, under the supervision of Ogden, who taught the first class at this place. Soon after another house was built in the Ginther district. Charles Lewis, later judge of the Eleventh Judicial District, Ida Shutliff, Amelia Miller and Mrs. Sueler, were other first teachers in this community. Mrs. Sueler had her school in her own home.

There have been no regularly organized religious societies in this township, but in the early days meetings were held in the schoolhouses and at private homes, conducted by some circuit rider.


The first wedding in the township was that of James Palmer and Charlotte Ginther in 1856 and nearly the same time Francis Metcalf was married to Maria Palmer. B. W. Ogden performed both of these ceremonies.

The first wheat raised in the township was by the hand of Michael Ginther. It is said that the first white child born here was Austin W. Ogden, on February 11, 1854.

The first death was that of Mrs. William Applegate, in the winter of 1854. Exposure to the hardships of the season undermined her health.


In 1886 a few Christian women met together in a neighborhood circle, in the City of New York, and because they felt the need of a bond of fellowship, not then existing between the denominations, the thought in the mind of each was to form an organization that should "develop spiritual life and stimulate Christian activities."

From the fact of their being but ten of them and because of the idea presented in the "ten times one is ten" series by Edward Everett Hale, then popular, the suggestion that they call themselves "The King's Daughters," was made and the order was founded.

The badge of the order is the Silver Maltese Cross, with the initial letters of the watchword of the order, "In His Name," and the word "Seal" on one side and the date 1886 on the other, worn with or without the purple ribbon.

The motto of the order is:

"Look up, not down
Look out, not in,
Look forward, not back
And lend a helping hand."

Three of the young women of Sumner Township, visiting in neighboring states in 1892, first learned of the order, and out of this grew a circle that has grown as did the original one, out of all proportion to the thought of those who started the suggestion.

The Silver Cross Circle of the King's Daughters was organized in June, 1893, with the following charter members: Lucy Tidd (Straw), deceased; Alma Rosmer (Palmer), Alice Warburton (Meythaler), Margaret Meythaler (Hood), Mary Hintz (Van Eman), Garden City, Kansas; Minnie Chapman, and Carrie Warburton (Harter).

Gertrude Cornwell, Julia Gates, deceased; Bertha and Edith Bolton, were also among those who joined in the first few months.

The circle now has a membership of thirty five, with former members in Washington, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. Its members have been instrumental in forming circles in Kansas and Illinois and several points in Iowa, and from one of these latter members grew the first Greek letter organization of the University of Iowa.

The circle aims to live up to its watehward and motto and so has been able to help those in need, not so much by financial assistance as by sympathy and the helping hand.


Feeling the lack of knowledge of many country neighborhoods in current events and a review of the life and works of our popular authors and writers, a few of the women of Sumner Township met at the home of Mrs. W. H. Warburton, February 12, 1903, to talk up an organization of some kind.

The result was the L. L. C. - Lincoln Literary Circle - so called from the fact of the first meeting being on Lincoln's birthday (February 12th). The motto of the circle is, "With Malice Toward None, with Charity for All."

The first officers were: Mrs. Mary Oglesbee, president; Mrs Anna Hintz, vice president; Mrs. Alice Meythaler, secretary and treasurer.

The charter members were: Mrs. Oglesbee, Mrs. Funk, Sarah Cornwell, Mrs. Cates, Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Van Elan, Mrs. Hintz, Mrs. Alice Meythaler, Cora Cornwell, Misses Minnie Chapman, Gertrude Cornwell, Carrie Warburton (Harter).

Meetings are held monthly, on the second Thursday, at the homes of the members and during the years of its organization the circle has reviewed the lives of many of the men and women of our country prominent in all walks of life, aiming to always keep uppermost our motto. Once or twice a year musical programs are given. During the four winter months the circle holds all day sessions, a picnic dinner, the families of the members being present.

The present officers are Mrs. C. B. Webb, president; Mrs. E. W. Johnson, vice president; and Mrs. Chas. Randall, secretary and treasurer.

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