HONEY CREEK TOWNSHIP
Lewis F. Wilson, Lewis Lanning, Anderson Meacham, William Taylor, Eli Chase, Abner Wright, William Hench and
others made up the list of pioneers who came to Honey Creek Township. Lewis F. Wilson came in 1843 and first settled
in Jefferson Township, Poweshiek County, but not being satisfied with that place, he moved to a place near Koszta
the following year. William Taylor was a very eccentric man, but well liked by his contemporaries. Abner "Grizzly"
Wright was another character. He received his nickname because of his ability to narrate bear stories. He had a
large scar on one side of his head, which he claimed to have received while engaged in a hand to hand fight with
a grizzly in the California mountains. Samuel Huston was one of the more prominent men who located in the Town
of Koszta. He laid out the town, also built a bridge across the Iowa River at that point. William Hench was a Pennsylvanian
and came to Johnson County, Ia., in the fall of 1842. In March, 1846, he came to Iowa County and located in section
14, township 81, range 12. He immediately erected three loghouses on a spot which is now in the east part of Koszta.
He held several offices while living, conducted a hotel, a mill and a general store at Koszta.
The first breaking of land to be done in Honey Creek was by Lewis Wilson and those coming with him. The first marriage
was that of J. H. Richardson and Alvira Lanning in the year 1848, the ceremony being performed by Reverend Johnson.
The first girl born was a daughter of Elijah Trueblood in 1846. George Meacham, son of Andrew Meacham, was the
first to be buried in the township. His body was laid to rest on the Meacham farm in 1847. Dr. E. P. Miller was
the first physician. He came in 1857, but after practicing here for four years he died and was buried in the Koszta
John C. Beem, from Indiana, located in Marengo in 1852, but in 1853 removed to a farm in Honey Creek Township,
where he lived until 1860, at which time he took the office of treasurer and recorder of the county. In 1872 he
went to Kansas and four years later died at Marion, Ia. Daniel Crayne entered land in the township in 1854. The
Gates family were prominent in the early days, most of them coming here in the '60s. Mason Ingraham settled here
in 1852; he was an agriculturist. Moved to Ladora, Ia., and lived a retired life for a number of years and died
there about 1910. The Montgomery brothers, John, Thomas and William, came to Iowa County in 1855-56 and formed
the company of William Montgomery & Brothers, engaging in farming and cattle business. Charles Mumby, born
in England, came to the township in 1855. He located in section 31 and was the first settler in that neighborhood.
Cyrus Ridenour located here in 1860. D. L. Sullenberger located in the township in 1860, at Koszta. H. H. Wheeler
located in Honey Creek in 1855. He became a very large land owner.
Benjamin Nicholson had perhaps as much to do with the early history of Honey Creek Township as any other man. He
resides on the land he originally entered from the Government, and an interview with this interesting pioneer appears
in another place in this history.
Gabriel S. Tanner, now of Cedar Rapids, is another interesting character who has written a fine letter that will
appear elsewhere in the history.
The court order for the organization of Honey Creek Township was dated February 18, 1856. The township at first
included all that part of Cono which lies directly north of it. Another order was made March 3, 1856, fixing the
boundaries of Cono. The first election held in Honey Creek Township was at the Village of Koszta on April 7, 1856,
and the following officers were elected: E. C. Cole, Alexander Patterson and William Hench, Sr., trustees; S. Middlesworth,
assessor; J. M. Richardson, clerk.
A SKETCH OF HONEY CREEK TOWNSHIP
[From an interview with Benjamin Nicholson, who came to Honey Creek Township October 12, 1853]
In the early days of settlement in Honey Creek Township there were more Indians around than white men. They were
of the Musquakie tribe. Following are the names of the early families and from whence they came: The Wilson, family,
from Indiana; the Beem, Crenshaw, Potter, Murphy, Umbarger and Lanning families, from Indiana; the Richardsons,
from New York; Cronbaughs, from Michigan; Hellers, from Pennsylvania; Houstons, from Pennsylvania; the Coates,
Kirshmans, Whitlocks, Pikes, Pattersons, Ziglers, Woodrows, Jordons, all from Ohio, with the exception of Woodrows,
Pennsylvania, and Jordons, Indiana; Nicholsons, from Ohio, and Ingrams, from Ohio also.
Benjamin Nicholson made 120 coffins during his life, 116 of which are now in the Koszta burying ground. He was
in attendance at every funeral. The coffins were mostly made of dressed walnut; dressed by hand, given a coat of
oil and then rubbed. For making these he received pork or some other merchandise in payment, as money was scarce.
Money was very scarce and wages generally run about a dollar and a half per day. The men worked from sun up to
sun set. William Hench served two years as sheriff and received 50 cents in money.
Mart Coates founded the Koszta Cemetery.
Benjamin Nicholson started to build the Koszta sawmill in 1855 for John and Theodore Hench. After the completion
of the mill Sullenberger became foreman, and a short time later a gristmill was added.
Jackson Elliott and his son in law, Simon Hollopeter, were the first settlers in Honey Creek and settled in the
bottoms. Elliott moved from this location to a tract of forty acres which had been given to him by the Government
for service in the War of 1812. Benjamin Nicholson's father was granted forty acres for the same reason. This land
was given out in 1849. Benjamin Nicholson came out to look over the county, and when he saw the country he decided
to locate here, but went back for his wife, and they returned from Ohio, with wagon and team, in five weeks' time.
HONEY CREEK TOWNSHIP NOTES
[From data given by David Sullenberger]
Honey Creek Township takes its name in the following manner: William Taylor, from Illinois, was noted as a great
bee hunter. He once found a bee tree on the banks of the creek, felled it, and in falling the tree poured its treasure
of honey into the water. He then christened the stream Honey Creek. This stream runs through nearly the center
of the township, coming from the southwest and leaving to the northeast to the Iowa River.
The township is principally hilly, not abrupt hills, but gently rolling. The land is very level in the north part
of the township from a half to a mile and a half back from the river. The soil is black loam, and sandy in some
places along the river. The bluff land is composed largely of clay.
The first school building was built at Koszta about the year 1860. At the present time the township has eleven
good schoolhouses. The first blacksmith shop was run by Samuel Gorby. The first doctor was Doctor Miller, who came
here from Pennsylvania.
Samuel Huston laid out the Town of Koszta into lots on June 12, 1856. The first settlers in the township were:
William Hench, Lewis Lanning, Anderson Meacham, William Taylor, Eli Chare, Abner Wright. These came about the year
1842-43. Hench was the first to locate in the township, and Lewis F. Wilson second. Hench was also the first postmaster
and the first hotel keeper. He run what was called the Pennsylvania House on the east bank of the creek at Koszta.
There were later two other hotels started - the Barracks, run by Charles Hessey, and the Massasoit, run by one
Kirkpatrick, who came here from Iowa City. Each hotel did a thriving business, as Koszta was on the direct route
from Iowa City to Marshalltown and Fort Dodge. There is only one hotel here at the present time, called the English
Kitchen, run by William Baker.
William Hench conducted a tollgate at his place in the early times. The fee was 20 tents, which fund went to the
paying for the bridge across the river near where the steel bridge is now located.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was first organized in the year 1845, and the first services were held in a log
cabin owned by Lewis Lanning, located on a part of the old camp grounds. The first church building was erected
in Koszta in 1860. This old church building was afterwards moved two miles southeast of Koszta and used for a barn.
Samuel Huston, one of the early settlers, donated 460 acres of land here to the Sam Huston College for negroes
in Texas. In honor of this gift the college authorities named the school for him.