History Westburgh 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


Westburgh Township was organized in the fall of 1860, by order of the County Court, reading as follows: "In the County Court of said county: Be it known that, on the petition of M. D. Weston and others, the court aforesaid, this 6th day of August, A. D. 1860, constitutes and forms a new township, 88, range 10, in said county; and it is ordered by the court aforesaid that the new township thus formed be called by the name of Westburgh, in accord with the wishes of the voters thereof."

The name of the township was selected when the residents met at the house of one of the settlers to take the steps necessary for presenting the petition to the court asking for township organization. M. D. Weston, who lived in the north part, desired to have the new township named Weston, but the people in the southern part of the township would not have it unless the suffix "burgh" was substituted for the "on."

The first election was held at the house of John R. Sabin. There were sixteen voters in the township at that time, all of whom were there but J. W. Goen, who was ill. I. N. Myers was chosen clerk at this election; John Bowder, assessor; M. D. Weston, P. G. Davis and Eli Lozer, trustees; John R. Sabin and D. M. Noyes, justices; Isaac A. Williamson and R A Whitlock, constables; and Eli Lozer, road supervisor. Every man was given an office with the exception of Robert Stewart, W. B. Wilkinson, J. R. Noyes, Benjamin Cain and Peter Cox. At the election in 1880, 150 votes were cast, showing the growth in the township in the intervening years.


The first permanent settlement in the township was made by Peter Cox, who came here in 1849 with his mother from Indiana, and built the first cabin in the section. About a month after settling he purchased his land from the Government.

D. M. Noyes settled in the township with his family in 1859. He was a prominent man in the organization of the township and served as one of the first magistrates. He lived here for eight years, then moved to Michigan, but later returned and lived at Jesup. He was a native of Vermont.

Peter Ham came in 1855 and settled on land entered from the Government. J. H. Goen came from Indiana in 1857. His son L. W. was one of the first editors of the Conservative at Independence. L. B. Wilkinson and family came to this state and settled here in 1855 on section 31. John R. Sabin and family came from Indiana in 1856 and settled near the center of the township. The first election was held at his home on account of its central location. Philip Ham came in 1856, but soon after moved to the State of Illinois, Patrick Shine, a native of Ireland, settled in the township in 1857. M. D. Weston, mentioned in the petition to the County Court for the organization of the township, Caine with his family in 1858. About ten years later he went to Dakota and there died. John Powder settled here in the year 1854. His house was the second that stood in the township. This home was made of slabs driven down into the ground. A hole cut in the wall, before which hung a buffalo skin, served him as a door. Bowder lived here until 1862, when he removed to Jefferson Township.


The first wedding in the township was that of Isaac A. Wilkinson to Mary E. Noyes on May 3, 1864. Rev. Edwin Champlin performed the ceremony.

The first school in the township was opened in 1861 at the house of D. M. Noyes, and there were ten scholars. George Fuller was the teacher. The same winter there was another one at the house of William B. Wilkinson, with eight scholars, taught by Libby Murphy. The next spring two schools were built, one near the residence of D. M. Noyes and another near the center of the township close to the home of Peter Ham. Mary E. Noyes taught one of the schools the following summer. Among the early teachers were George Fuller, Mary E. Noyes, I. N. Myer and Edward Noyes.

The postofflee at the settlement of Vista was discontinued on December 31, 1904.

The Methodist Church at Vista has been organized since 1878. The church at present has thirty five members and is in charge of Rev. H. Wyrick, living east of Jesup. An old church constructed by the Baptists years ago is now used for services.

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