History of Oran Township, Fayette County,
From: Past and Present of Fayette County, Iowa
B. F. Bowen & Company
Indianapolis, Indiana 1910
This sub-division of Fayette county, located in the southwest corner, dates its political existence from the
first Monday in April, 1855.
TIMBER ANDS DRAINAGE.
Oran would be classed as a "prairie township," though it was well supplied with timber, the belt being
confined to about twelve sections along the Wapsipinnicon river. This stream traverses the township from north
to south, and this, with its numerous tributaries, furnishes excellent drainage, as well as rendering the land
well adapted to stock raising and dairying. The timber belt seems to be a continuation of Wilson's Grove which
furnishes the timber supply for Fremont and Banks townships, to the north of Oran.
Two country churches were organized in Oran township in early days. The first of these was a Baptist congregation,
established in December, 1855 The first meeting was held at the house of Simon Schultz, and J. F. Reardon was chosen
moderator and J. H. Ross, clerk. The next year the Methodist Protestants invaded the territory, and theirs was
the first church building erected in the township. Charles Robinson did the carpenter work and Mr. Johnson laid
the foundation and did the plastering. These religious organizations served the people for many years, or until
the erection of churches in near by towns and villages provided more convenient means for worship. There are a
good many Catholics in Oran, and at first they attended services at Fairbank (and some still do), but the immense
and costly cathedral at Oelwein, and the parochial school privileges there, have diverted others to that point.
Some have retired and located there, while many others still drive in from the farms.
The first school in Oran was held at the house of Peter McCunniff, during the winter of 1855-6. Mr. McCunniff had a considerable family of his own, and set apart a portion of his house - at that time none too large - to accommodate the children within reach of this pioneer school. But the McCunniffs have always been friends of the public school and for many years some of their names Were found on the roster of school officers in Oran township. J. J. Roberts was the teacher in the school above mentioned. During the summer of 1856 a school house was built near the McCunniff home, and Charles Bennett was the first teacher therein.
The first marriage ceremony in Oran was that which united L. D. Wellman and Caroline Roberts, Lyman Curtis,
justice of the peace, officiating. This occurred October 5, 1856. The second marriage in the township was solemnized
in the winter of 1857, and John Minton and Betsy Kent were the contracting parties.
The schools of Oran township are organized under the rural independent district system, and comprise nine schools,
each having a comfortable school house and a school term of eight or more months in the year. The shortest term
in the township was in district No. 9, where seven and five tenths months comprised the school year. The average
duration of the nine schools for the year 1909 was eight and two tenths months (No. 7 had nine months school).
One male teacher and thirteen females were employed during the year, the salaries varying from twenty eight dollars
and fifty three cents, in No. 9, to thirty five dollars and thirty two cents in district No. 5. The average salary
for the nine schools was twenty nine dollars and forty seven cents. The average cost of tuition, per pupil, for
the township, was three dollars and five cents. The highest average cost of tuition in the township was four dollars
and sixty four cents in district No. 2, and the lowest was one dollar and forty eight cents in district No. 6.
The nine school houses have a value estimated by the district officers at seven thousand dollars. The school apparatus
is valued at three hundred and thirty five dollars. School libraries, three hundred and fifty volumes.