History of Crawford Township, Madison County, IA
From: History of Madison County, Iowa
And it's people.
By: Herman A. Mueller
S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chicago 1915


This is one of the first townships created in the county and was first given the name of East Township, which was later changed, together with the boundary lines, to conform with the present limits and to follow the proportions of an exact congressional township. George W. McClain, John Carroll and Seth Adamson were appointed by the Commissioners' Court trustees of the said newly created township, which as it now stands is bounded on the north by Lee, on the south by South, and on the west by Union townships. Warren County forms the east boundary line. North River, Middle River and Cedar Creek flow directly through Crawford Township from west to east and on all of these streams originally were large groves, of timber. Limestone in moderate quantities and some coal are indigenous products. There is probably no region in the county better watered than this, as numerous springs and small streams abound, providing the best of refreshments for stock and drainage of the land. The surface is more rough and rolling than any other township in the county, yet most of its land is susceptible of cultivation and throughout the township are some of the choicest farms in Madison County.

It was to Crawford Township that Hiram Hurst, the first settler, was attracted and here he set up his stakes for a permanent settlement on the 1st day of April, 1846, rehabilitating an old bark wick-i-up left partially standing by an Indian, its last inhabitant. That spring and summer he planted and cultivated a small patch of corn and in the fall returned to his home in Buchanan County, Missouri, for his family, which he brought back with him to his new home and settled on section 36. As the first settler in the county, the name Hurst stands out interestingly and significantly, so that considerable space has been devoted to the history of Madison's pioneer. Those interested may be fully informed by reverting to the chapter entitled Madison's Advance Guard of Civilization.

The next person known to have settled in Crawford Township and who became a permanent settler was Thomas Cason, who bought the Hurst claim on section 36, in July, 1847, and took up his residence there. J. J. Cason was a member of his family. The Casons immigrated from Indiana and when Thomas chose the Hurst place for his future home he had two sons, W. T. and T. T. Cason. The latter was born in 1837 and the former in 1843. Both boys remained on the old homestead for many years and became important citizens of the township.

J. B. McGinnis, Thomas Stewart, William Weakley, Jacob Kinkannon, Jackson Nelson and George Salisbury were here as early as 1851 and the widow Shreves and sons, John, Jonathan and Jonah, became citizens of the township in 1852.

Oliver Crawford arrived here in 1852, coming from the State of Ohio with his family. It was in honor of Mr. Crawford that the township received its name. Both he and his wife have long since passed away, leaving the following children: Mary J., Sarah A., Robert J., Elizabeth E., Maria T., William W. and Charles S. Crawford.

James Gillaspie, still living and a resident of Patterson, was born in County Londonderry, Ireland, in the year 183o, emigrated to the United States in 1852, and to this county in 1856. Mr. Gillaspie recently prepared a history of the Irish settlements in Lee and Crawford townships, and as both these divisions of the county were largely made up of the Irish race, Mr. Gillaspie's relation of his people's migration to this land of plenty and prosperity finds an interesting place at the close of this chapter.

Thomas W. Foiwell was 'a shoemaker who left Holmes County, Ohio, in the fall of 1851 and located in Winterset, where he followed his trade 4 1/2 years and then located on section 20, where he for many years cultivated the soil, improved his farm and lived as one of the important citizens of the community. One son, John M., died in the army, while a member of the Fifteenth Iowa Infantry.

Michael Loftus was born in Ireland in 1817, married Bridget McGloon in 1845 and two years after immigrated to Canada. In 1855 he came to Madison County and located in Crawford Township and raised a large family of children.

Patrick Swift came to New York from Ireland in 1848 and remained there until 1856, when he settled in this county and acquired several hundred acres of land.

S. E. Shannon came to the county in the fall of 1855 and married Mary E. Hughart in the fall of 1865. Shannon was a member of Company B, First Iowa Cavalry, and served three years in the Civil.war with honor to his name.

Among those who came later than the above mentioned and identified themselves with the stability and prosperity of the township may be mentioned, as far as possible by name, Aaron Howell, John Holton, George Blosser, John and Ephraim Potter, Elvis Stout, Jonah Shreves, J. M. Huglin.

James and Abner Bell were settlers here at an early date, and "the latter, a large, imposing and vigorous man of four score years, still lives in the locality of his first trials and triumphs."

The Hardy schoolhouse east of Patterson received its name from one of the early families living in that vicinity.

One of the largest landowners in Crawford Township in the latter '50s wads Aaron Howell, who had a farm of over nine hundred acres under cultivation. He came to the township in 1855 with but a few hundred dollars in his pocket, but by economy, perseverance and diligence became one of the richest farmers in Madison County.

One of the early millers in Crawford Township was J. M. Huglin, who had a grist and sawmill on Middle River, where he did a large business. About this time the firm of Carson & McDowell also had a steam sawmill on the river.

The Adamson schoolhouse was located and built on section 35 in the early '5os. Among the pupils were Tom, Bill, Calista and Elizabeth Cason; Mills, Solomon and a daughter of the Adamsons; Jesse, Rebecca, Mercy, Abner D. and Martha, children of Rev. Henry A. Bell; William, Sanford, Permelia and another maiden of the John M. Johns family; Milton, Lorenzo Dow, William, Jr., and a daughter, all belonging to William Smith; John, Malcolm, Abbott and a little girl, children of David Worley. A. A. Moser taught this school, which was held about the winter of 1852 or 1853.

By James Gillaspie

Lee and Crawford townships were largely settled by natives of the Emerald isle. The history of this hardy and thrifty people, who came into the wilderness, made for themselves homes in this new world and contributed to its prosperity, was tersely related by one of them, James Gillaspie, in a carefully prepared paper, for the Madison County Historical Society, in March, 1907. Mr. Gillaspie was born in Ireland in the year 1830 and immigrated to this country in 1852, landing in New York City. In the early part of the year 1856 he found his way to Madison County and settled in Crawford Township. Here he took up a residence and it was in this old homestead he wrote the history of the Irish families of Lee and Crawford. Mr. Gillaspie was true to his adopted country in the hours of her peril and in 1864 enlisted in Company A, Sixteenth Iowa Infantry, serving until the close of hostilities between the two sections of the Union at strife. He returned home and in course of time filled most of the important offices of his community. This worthy son of "Auld Erin" lived a long and useful life in Crawford Township and gained the esteem of a large circle of friends and acquaintances. Now for the story:

The first settlers did not come here, as some suppose, by any preconcerted plan, in order to form a settlement, nor were they lately landed from Ireland. They were men of families for the most part who had lived for several years in other states of the Union. Some were farmers before coming to Iowa and some followed other occupations of life. Iowa being then a new state, and its lands to be had at Government price, many sold their possessions in other states in order to better their conditions in Iowa. As Des Moines was about to become the capital of the state, it was but to be expected that immigration would flow to the capital, and as the lands within several miles of Des Moines were nearly all owned and held by eastern speculators, people wishing to purchase farms were compelled to scatter out from that city. So the first Irish families liking the looks of the country, located in what is known as the Irish Settlement. This settlement consists of two townships in Warren County, as well as the townships of Lee and Crawford in Madison County. But for the purpose of this article, I confine myself to the Irish settlers who located in Madison County prior and up to 1860. I will begin with Crawford Township and give the names of those who settled north of North River, the year they came, as far as possible, and also as far as I know, where they came from directly to Iowa. They are as follows:

Andrew Connor and family in 1854 or earlier; came from Wisconsin; is now dead; father of Stephen and John Connor of Crawford, and Michael, of Lee.

Patrick and John McManus in 1854, from Wisconsin. Patrick is dead; family moved away. John's family moved from here.

John McLaughlin and family in 1854. John came from Wisconsin and was the father of Michael McLaughlin, of Lee, and John, of Winterset. He has been dead many years.

John Ryan and family, brothers and sisters, in 1855, from Wisconsin. Mr. Ryan has been dead many years. He was the father of John and William Ryan of this place. The son, John, is now dead but his family lives here.

John Fallon and family came from Pennsylvania in 1855, I believe. John died here many years ago and his family moved west.

John Cunningham and family came from Wisconsin in i855. Mr. Cunningham died a few years ago; father of Joseph and P. J. of this place.

Tom, James and John Finan, brothers, came in 1855, from Wisconsin; owned a sawmill north of North River; also farmed; sold out and moved west. Each of the Finans had families.

John Connor and family came in 1855 from Wisconsin, I think. After a few years he sold out and moved away.

John Manion and wife came from Wisconsin in 1856; sold farm and moved to Des Moines.

John Roddy and family about 1856; sold out and went to Des Moines after a few years.

John Monaghan and family from Wisconsin in 1855; Mr. Monaghan is dead and his family moved away.

We now come to the Irish who lived in Crawford Township south of North River:

Darby Gill and family in 1855 from Canada, I think. Mr. Gill is dead; some of his family have died; some live in Warren County and some in Polk.

Michael Donohue and family in 1855. He is dead and family moved away. James Gallagher and family in 1855 from Canada; he is dead. His son, James F., lives in Des Moines; his son Dominick's family live on the old farm. Pat Swift came in 1855; he is dead and his family is gone.

Frank Cassidy and family came in 1855 from New York City; he is dead and two of his sons went West. Mrs. M. McLaughlin, of Lee Township, is his daughter, and two other daughters live in Des Moines.

Patrick Smith and family came from New York City. Mr. Smith came in 1855 and bought his farm, and his wife and children came in 1856. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are dead; they were the parents of Luke A. Smith of this place, and John H. Smith, of Winterset.

Thomas McGarr came from New York City in 1855; remained three or four years, then went to California, where it is believed he died, unmarried.

James Gillaspie came here from New York City in the spring of 1856, accompanied by his wife and other relatives; he is still living on the old home farm.

Charles Walls and family came in 1856; bought and sold four or five farms; lived here until 1874, then returned to New York City. He is long in his grave.

John Harrington and family came in 1856 from New York City. After living here about thirty five years he traded his farm for Des Moines property. He is dead; his son, Matthew Harrington, is living in Des Moines.

John Crawley and family came from New York City in 1856; lived on a farm for several years and died. His family sold the farm and moved to Cass County, where some of them are still living.

Michael Loftus and family came here from Canada in 1857. Mr. Loftus died several years ago; his son Mike and several of his daughters are still residents of this place.

Michael McGlone and family came from Canada in 1857; he is dead and his widow and son Martin still live on the farm.

James Kirby and family came here in 1856 from Pennsylvania; Mr. and Mrs. Kirby are dead; their son, John F., and daughter, Maggie, live on the old farm; William and James, two other sons, live near on farms of their own. Since writing the foregoing William has died.

Patrick Reilly and family came here in 1855 from Canada. He is dead. The farm was sold a few years ago. His son, Patrick, and two daughters, all married, live in Des Moines, and another son, John, lives in Iowa, east of Des Moines. Later, John and family moved to Des Moines.

Darby Carr and family came in 1855; he died; the family after several years moved to Des Moines.

Thomas O'Toole and family came here in 186o from Des Moines; sold his farm a few years ago and removed to Omaha, Nebraska. Now deceased.

Thomas Durigan and family came here in 1858; lived here for several years, then moved across the line into Warren County, where he died. Some of the Durigan family are still living in Iowa but not on the old farm.

John McDonnell and family came in 1860 from Wisconsin. Mr. McDonnell sold his farm a few years ago and moved to Nebraska, where he died. His son, Dennis, lives in Crawford Township and Thomas in Des Moines.

John Cutler, an early settler in Warren County, settled in this township in the early '50s with his family.

William Kennedy and family came here in 1856 from Philadelphia and after living here for many years moved to California where he died. Mrs. Robert Smith, of South' Township, is one of his daughters.

Anderson McLees and family came here in 1856 from Philadelphia. He died a few years ago in Winterset. John McLees, his son, lives in Lincoln Township; William McLees lives in North Dakota.

Robert McMichael came from Pennsylvania in 1855 or 1856. He died a few years later. His brother, William, came on the farm.


Patterson lies on the southwest quarter of section 29, Crawford Township, and was laid out by A. W. Wilkinson, surveyor, for Alexander Pattison, March 5, 1872. The intent of the owner was to name the town Pattison, but the name was misspelled when the plat was filed for record and that accounts for it being as it is. The town lies something over seven miles east of Winterset on the Des Moines branch of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, and has a population of about 150. About the year 1890 it had grown in population to the number of 133 and at the next census, in 1900, there were 163 in the town; so that, by the last enumeration, it can be seen that the town has not progressed in the number of its inhabitants. However that may be, it is a good trading point and ships large numbers of cattle and hogs annually.

The first lot in the town was bought in April, 1872, by L. C. Doane. S. B. Catterlin built the first house and a short time thereafter erected a store building, installed a stock of goods, bought in Winterset, and became the pioneer merchant of the place. He kept a general store and for a while conducted a large business. Some time later he took into partnership Henry Griffin.

As soon as the town had been laid out, H. H. Bass opened a lumber yard and shortly thereafter John W. Ellis had a drug store in operation. Then came Doctor Dorman, who practiced his profession here for some time. It was not long before W. C. Henry put up an elevator, which was later destroyed by fire. Then came Robert McDowell and his son, Newton, who were the first carpenters in the town, and about the same time A. C. Dutton opened up a blacksmith shop.

John Stiffler opened a hardware store about 1873.

In 1877 the Eureka Flour Mill was erected by Alexander Pattison and Thomas Fox. It was a two story frame, with basement, had four run of stone, with a patent process, and cost about $6,000. The mill was later operated by Pattison & Bell, and in 188o was destroyed by fire.

The first agent for the railroad company was H. H. Bass. He was succeeded by Alexander Pattison, and for the past twenty six years T. H. Debord has been in charge of the company's affairs at this point.

The first schoolhouse was built about 1874. It is a frame structure with two rooms and was taught by Thomas J. Ross, principal, and Byrum Bird. Some years later, as the town grew and moire space became necessary, an addition was built to the structure so as to provide for three rooms and the same number of teachers. The school is now graded and is an independent district.

The Methodist Episcopal Church organization was an appointment on the St. Charles Circuit until about 1907. The building, a frame, was ejected in 1872 at a cost of $1,600. This gave way to a new frame house of worship in the winter of 1914, which was built at a cost of $4,000. It was dedicated early in the year 1915. The pastors of this church since the change from the St. Charles Circuit have been Rev. E. Durant, who served one year; Reverend Rusk, one year; Arthur Eastman, two years, and the present pastor, Rev. F. V. Warner, who has been in charge the past three years.

Somewhere in the '80s a Christian Church was established here. A house of worship was erected and for some time the society had quite a large membership, but the original members mostly are all gone and no regular pastor has been engaged for some time. Occasionally, services are held in the church by a minister from Winterset.

The Baptists were established here and built a church at about the same time as the Methodists. They had a large congregation which has dwindled away until the society is no longer locally intact. Some time ago the building was sold to the lodge of Modern Woodmen, which was organized about the year 1885. The Odd Fellows also have a lodge here and owned their own building, which was burned down about 1902. They now meet in the Woodmen Hall.

Patterson was incorporated October 27, 1877, and at its first election placed the following named persons in office: C. E. Sampson, mayor; J. W. Ellis, clerk and treasurer; John Stewart, marshal; Alexander Pattison, A. B. Wilder, H. Gratner, James M. Lee, Henry Brown and G. V: Wright, councilmen.


Bevington is also a business point in Crawford Township and a part is in Warren County. It has a population of about one hundred and twenty five. It is twelve miles east of Winterset, on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, and is located on the south part of the east half of the northeast quarter of section 25. It was laid out on the 19th day of March, 1872, by A. W. Wilkinson, surveyor, for John Williamson, owner of the land, and was named in honor of Dr. C. D. Bevington, one of the leading citizens of Winterset. The first house built in the town was erected by C. Haight in 1872. It afterwards became known as the Bevington House. That same fall Felix McManus erected a building and opened a general merchandise store.

The town is an independent school district, has one teacher and a good frame school building.

Shortly after the town was established the Methodists organized a society and erected a frame church building, but for some years past the organization has not flourished and the church has remained idle for religious purposes.

The Bevington Bank, a private concern, was organized in 1897, by James Watt, L. J. Klemm, J. C. O'Donnell, Jerry Sullivan and Dr. T. F. Kelleher. The officials were: James Watt, president; L. J. Klemm, vice president; J. C. O'Donnell, cashier; J. O. Stamen, assistant cashier. J. P. Laughlin has been manager of the bank since July, 1909.

Middle River Camp, No. 680, M. W. A., was instituted March 26, 1891, First officers: T. J. Jones, V. C.; M. Armstrong, W. A.; J. G. Huglin, B.; Zach Turpin, clerk.

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