History Hartford 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

HARTFORD TOWNSHIP

FIRST SETTLEMENT

Among the early settlers of this township were James and John Manatt, Jesse Gwin, William Scott, Samuel Drummond, John Gwin, Charles Comstock, William Rosecrans, Daniel and William Negley and George W. Wilson. All these persons settled prior to the year 1854, in the fall of which year G. W. Wilson erected a residence on the south part of his purchase, and during the spring of 1855 broke some eighty acres of prairie, part of which is the present site of Victor. These improvements were for a number of years rented to Samuel Gaumer, Conrad Dunn and John Keller. The latter afterwards lived northwest of Victor. Samuel Drummond and William A. Negley at this time lived in small loghouses. Alexander Reynolds and J. A. Rosenberger made the first land entries in the township. Reynolds entered the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter and the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 23 and the west half of the southwest quarter of section 24 on August 14, 1848. Rosenberger entered Government land described as follows: Northwest quarter and north half of northeast quarter of section 24 and northwest quarter and southwest quarter of section 13. He entered this on October 22, 1849.

ORGANIZATION

There is a discrepancy in the dates of the organization and the first election held in the township. The record at the county courthouse places the order from the court on April 2, 1854, and the election to be held on the first Monday of April, the same year. The township clerk records place the order of Judge Wallace on March 5, 1855, and the first election April 7, 1855, when the following officers were chosen: Isaac Chenoweth, James B. Long and Anthony Rosenberger, trustees; J. S. Watson and Benjamin Shim, justices of the peace; Levi Schedenhelm, clerk; John Swaney, assessor; Fred Barlow, constable.

Probably the first school in the township which was taught in a regular schoolhouse was on section 23 in the year 1858. It was a frame house and cost $500. This was called the Schedenheim School.

OTHER PROMINENT SETTLERS

R. C. Broughton came to Victor in 1864, when there were but two houses in the town. Here he became engaged in the mercantile business, which he followed continually. John Bricker was one of the first physicians in the township. He commenced practice in Hartford Township in 1854, when the country was entirely a wilderness. Besides his medical work he engaged in farming. John Clyde came to Victor in 1854, and was employed by Gilmore Danskin as a laborer; then with George Kime, who kept a hotel on the state road in this township. In 186o he started farming for himself. James C. Gridley came to Victor in 1866 and entered into business, the hardware business being his particular branch. Nicholas Rosenberger and his brother constructed the first cabin between Marengo and Millersburg. They were members of the group of people composing the Ohio settlement. Anthony Rosenberger came to the county in 1851, then moved back to Ohio for a few years, and again, in 1853, took up residence in Hartford Township. John N. Schedenheim, a native of Ohio, came to Iowa County in 1853 and located in the Ohio settlement. Schedenheim served in the Twenty fourth Iowa Regiment during the war. He was known as a farmer, a fruit grower and the honey king of Iowa County all of his life. John E. Stoner came to Marengo in 1849 with $5 in money, a wife and child, three horses and a wagon, and located upon unbroken ground. The story of his struggle for existence is worthy of record. After arriving here he went to Iowa City and spent $4.90 of his money for beef and flour, and when he returned he found that someone had sent him a letter, which in those days cost the receiver to cents. He had no corn with which to feed his team, and he started out to hunt up a settlement. He went about eighteen miles northeast of Marengo to a settler named Robert McCorkin, to whom he traded one of his horses for $15 in money, a heifer and a calf, a small hog and took the balance in corn. He again went to Iowa City and bought a cook stove for $15, which again took all of his money, and he was obliged to swim the river and sleep in his wagon for want of money to pay the ferryman or hotelkeeper. After his return he husked corn for the settlers and took corn for his pay. His wife dug potatoes on shares. He then engaged to do some hauling for a settler, for which he received two shoats, which furnished his meat and flour for the winter, and during the winter he split and hauled rails sufficient to fence twenty acres of land; also teamed for William Downard and Mr. Danskin at the rate of $2 per day until he had saved enough money to enter thirty five acres of land, which is entered in what was known as Mormon Bend, by reason of the fact that the Mormons had encamped there for a time after being driven from Nauvoo. Stoner built the first barn in the county, on the ridge south of Marengo. The first year he farmed all the improved land there was in the neighborhood belonging to Hull and Groff; he raised corn on Hull's place, and wheat and oats on Groff's acres. After the grain was in stack the notorious barn burners destroyed it. These vandals were soon rooted out. Stoner afterward returned to Ohio and brought six families back with him, also several single men. Stoner became one of the most prominent and prosperous farmers in Iowa County. He kept store at one time and also ran a steam gristmill at Genoa Bluffs.

George W. Wilson is called by some the "Father of Victor." He was a native of Ohio and studied law, practicing for some time in the East. In the early '60s he came West and entered the land on which Victor is now located, but did not remove here until some years later, when the railroad was about to be built to this point. He then moved here permanently and laid out the town, and made some liberal gifts to the railroad company. He established the first scales that were ever built here, and was the first station agent for the railroad company. He served in the Civil war, being drafted into the service. At a later date he became recorder of Iowa County, but being in his declining years, he retired from active business pursuits soon after expiration of his official term, and in a few years died at his home in Marengo, ripe in years and respected and esteemed by all. The Ohio settlement of Hartford Township also extends into Sumner Township. It represents a hardy, rugged and honorable band of men and women who came to stay; and not only have they proven their staying qualities and continuity of purpose, but they and their generations have lived to see the fruits of their energy thrice blessed and their cup of prosperity filled to overflowing. In recognition of these wonderful blessings bestowed by an all wise providence, and in honor of their native state, these people meet annually in the vicinity of the Ohio Church and Cemetery, or at some other appropriate place, for a picnic and a feast.


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