History Greene Township, Iowa County, IA
From: History of Iowa County, Iowa And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chiago 1915



The history of Greene Township is really the same as the first early settlement of the county, so that a large amount of the matter contained in the following is briefly sketched and detailed more in the chapter devoted to the early settlement of the county as a whole.

Edward R. Ricord, the first settler of Iowa County, located a little south of Old Man's Creek in March, 1840, within the present limits of Greene Township. Edward R. Ricord was born at Cape Henlopen (now Lewis), Del., on February 17, 1814. At five years of age he removed with his parents to Cincinnati, O., where he lived until he was about eighteen years of age. He then removed to Fayette County, Ind., where he lived about seven years. Mr. Ricord then, being twenty six years of age and newly married, took a boat for St. Louis and thence to Muscatine. He had married Jane Gillin on January 9, 1839. Leaving his wife at Muscatine, he journeyed afoot northwest until he came to Iowa City. There he rested a day or two, then proceeded on foot to Iowa County and made a thorough inspection of the land in the vicinity of Old Man's Creek. After he was satisfied that the locality would please him, he commenced to mark out his claim. As he was settling his claim he met a man named John Wycoff, who lived half a mile east of the Iowa County line. Wycoff had built a cabin in the fall of 1839 and lived in it with his wife, two children and a brother. Ricord and Wycoff took a surveyor's chain and measured west from the county line to a point which they supposed would be the northwest quarter of section 3. Here in section 3, township 78, range 9, Ricord laid out his claim. He employed Wycoff and his brother Samuel, with their two yoke of oxen, to help construct a loghouse. In one week's time they had completed the first house in Iowa County.

The house was a single story in height, of logs hewn down on the inside, puncheon floor and roof of split clapboards. Ricord then returned to Iowa City, bought five yoke of oxen for breaking, a Virginia wagon and went to Muscatine for his wife and two children. Here he bought some provisions and bedding, and returned. He commenced breaking prairie about the 1st of May, 1840. This was the farthest west of any house in the Territory of Iowa.

James McKray settled in the northeast corner of section 1 in the summer of 1840. He came from Pennsylvania. After the death of his wife and the destruction of his improvements by fire he moved to Keokuk County, and there died. Edward and Erastus Conyers came next and settled on section 2, township 78, range 9, what is now Greene. Both were from Pennsylvania. The third settler was Henry Starry. He came from Ohio with Erastus Conyers, and in 1840 settled on section 34. He moved to Marshall County in about twelve years. Michael Roup came from Pennsylvania in 1841, and located in section 4. He went to Missouri about 1867. Charles Jones, from Ireland, came in 1841, and took up a claim. He died in 1870. William Butler came about 1845. Elisha and Jacob Ricord came with their brother, Edward R. The former took up a claim near that of his brother in section 3, but did not remain very long. Jacob came at the same time, but soon moved to Iowa City. Elisha went to Fillmore Township and then to Texas. John Furlong came in 1841; he was originally from Ireland. Edward Spratt came in 1844, and located in section 1. He died in 1876. Thomas Boyle came from. Ohio about 1848, and settled on section 5. He was a Mexican war veteran and laid his claim with a land warrant. Reuben Smith arrived in 1843. John Webster, a United Brethren minister, came early and settled on section I. He came from Ohio, and lived here until 1875, when he died.

The very first settlers did their voting in Johnson County, for at that time Iowa County was not organized and was a part of Johnson. They voted at a place called Fry's, about twelve miles west of Iowa City.

The first death was that of the wife of James McKray, in the fall of 1842, and she was buried just east of his house in section 1. This was also the first death in the county. The first marriage in the township was that of William C. Carter and S. A. Tinkle, on April 19, 1846, by Henry Starry, justice of the peace; this was the only official act of Starry while he held the office of justice. Carter, the groom, afterwards served time in the state penitentiary for stealing horses. It is said that Starry had to learn the marriage ceremony from Mrs. E. R. Ricord before he could perform the ceremony.


Perhaps the oldest cemetery in the township was what was known as the Ricord burying ground. There were not many interments here; probably twenty. There was another cemetery at the Methodist Episcopal Church, which was also small. Another was by the side of the brick Catholic Church, which stood in section 5. In section 13 there was a burial ground, and. one in section 21, called the McArtor Cemetery.


The first store in Greene Township was kept in 1849 by a man named Riley. The first brick kiln was near the. southeast corner of the township. The first shipment of hogs was by E. R. Ricord in the winter of 1841-42. He drove them to Muscatine. The first shipment of cattle was in 1860, after the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad was built above Iowa City. The first postoffice was called Jones, and John Wycoff was postmaster, in about 1860. The postoffice was kept for a time by Mrs. Guinn at her store in section 5, but was finally discontinued.

Greene Township once included four congressional townships: Troy, Fillmore, York and Greene. When the county was first divided into townships there were only four: Greene, English, Iowa and Marengo. The commissioners who fixed the boundaries were Thomas Hanson, Lewis F. Wilson and Matthew S. Cleveland. Each of these commissioners named a township. Thomas Hanson named Greene, in honor of General Greene of the Revolutionary army; Lewis F. Wilson named Marengo; Matthew S. Cleveland named Iowa; and the three of them gave the name to English.

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