History Sumner 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
Among the earliest settlers in Sumner Township were: N. Rosenberger, M. B. Rosenberger, Henry A. Moore, Peter
D. Smith, Daniel Broachey, J. H. Whittling, Jacob Watson, William Downard, W. D. Nusbaum, M. Shaul, J. M. Ceis,
Charles D. Hostetter, A. K. Hostetter, Josiah Clinker, Henry Keck and John Mouser. Most of these settlers came
here from the State of Ohio.
Sumner Township was organized October 12, 1858, the order for this having been given September 22d of the same year. The first township officers were: Nicholas Rosenberger, Peter D. Smith and A. F. Randolph, trustees; William D. Nusbaum, assessor; Michael Shaul, clerk. The first official meeting of the board of trustees was held at Genoa Bluffs on November 3, 1858.
This little village, now practically extinct, was laid out by Jacob S. Watson on July to, 1855, on the southeast
quarter of section 32, township 80, range II. An addition by Peter Ike was made January 5, 1858. At one time Genoa
Bluffs contained two stores, a grocery, gristmill, blacksmith shop, hotel, postoffice, schoolhouse, saloon and
twenty residences. In 1857 there was considerable excitement caused by the fact that an effort was made to remove
the county seat here.
The old cemetery located at Genoa Bluffs, in section 32, consisted of about three acres. The ground was laid out by Henry Morse. The Ohio Cemetery, just west of the Methodist Protestant Church, was located in Hartford Township, but has been used extensively by Sumner Township people. There is also another small burying ground in the northeast quarter of section 18 on the state road, this being the cemetery generally used by Ladora people and the surrounding country immediately southeast of Ladora.
It is probable that there was no regular route for this method of transporting slaves from the South in the
early days, but it is equally probable that they were taken through this county at various times. The following
quoted article is interesting in this light:
Sumner Township suffered considerably from the vicious organization known as the barn burners in the early days.
The motive for the wholesale burning of barns and grain stacks was a desire to drive the settlers out and claim
the lands, also to take revenge for any fancied wrong incurred by one of the gang. A. P. Kitchens was an early
settler at what was known as Kitchens Mill on Bear Creek. He was secretary of the Squatters' Claim Club, or Barn
Burners. He was the last of them and went to Missouri, where as captain of a company of bushwhackers, he was shot
while standing in the doorway of his hut. Kitchens' mill was the first in the township and probably the first in
the county. William Downard kept the first postoffice at his house on the state road.
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