Jackson Township was organized in May, 1860. It is bounded on the north by Penn, on the south by Webster, on
the east by Douglas townships, and on the west by Adair County. The North River passes through it from west to
east. Along this stream the settlers found abundance of timber and stone not only for the needs of this township,
but its neighbor, Penn, which had little if any timber within its borders. The general surface of the country is
somewhat rolling and just enough to make a delightful farming country. The soil is of the richest and with abundance
of good pure water for both man and beast the citizens of this township are doubly blessed and justly take a great
pride in their homes, which are modern in character, and surrounding them, are barns and other buildings which
harmonize with a general air of comfort, thrift and prosperity.
A man by the name of Phelon and Alfred Rice are said to have been the first settlers in the township, coming here
in 1850. They were soon followed by Samuel Bunn, Willis Rose and 0. B. Bissell. Rose and Bunn bought out the claims
of Rice and Phelon. John Rose came from Illinois early in 1852 and settled on the banks of the North River. He
married Mary Gilleran, a native of Ireland, in 1856. His nearest neighbor was six miles away and he was compelled
to haul logs to Winterset for lumber. The nearest grist mill was at Indianola, and not being very reliable as to
its running days, the last resort was hand ground corn meal with which to make bread. For this purpose a common
tin grater was used. When the township was organized Mr. Rose was authorized to notify the voters to meet and hold
the first election. The number of votes cast on that occasion was between forty and fifty. Willis Rose with his
family, among whom was a son, George, settled on section 5, in 1852. The elder Rose died in 1861 and left a farm
encumbered by a mortgage, which was a burden to his family, and especially to the boy George, who, however, by
industry and good management redeemed the land and added many acres to the farm besides.
Daniel Henderson was an Ohioan by birth and moved to Indiana, from whence he came to Madison County in 1853, and
located on section 13, which became his permanent home. There were but few families in the township at the time
of his arrival; consequently, he became identified with its growth and development.
O. B. Bissell came into the township and took up a permanent settlement in 1855. He became one of the solid men
of the county and so improved his farm with fine buildings, good fences and systematic cultivation that it became
one of the best in the county. He held various offices of trust and was a member of the State Legislature in 1874.
He also served on the board of supervisors.
John G. Fox, born in New Jersey in 1834, immigrated to this county in 1856, and the following year married Henrietta
Ulory of this county. He became one of the substantial farmers and citizens of the community.
James G. Beck, a native of Ireland, arrived in the township in 1859 and for many years lived on section 27. He
enlisted in the Seventh Iowa Infantry in 1861, and remained in the service during the war.
Thomas Stewart was one of the substantial men of Jackson Township. He was a Pennsylvanian by birth and a blacksmith
at the age of sixteen. Moving to Illinois he there engaged in farming until immigrating to Madison Township early
in its history. There he improved a farm, with but few other settlers within a score of miles of him. He was compelled
to get his grinding done at Panora, and haul his lumber from Des Moines. He located in Jackson Township, on section
2, in 1860. At this time the land consisted chiefly of wild prairie and the settlers were few in number. Mr. Stewart
was the father of fourteen children and five of his sons served in the Civil war, one dying while at the front,
and four remaining until the close of hostilities.
Among other things related of Jackson Township in an article prepared by him for a local paper, E. R. Zeller had
the following to say: "Like Penn, Jackson was sparsely settled until late and is like the township mentioned
in soil and population. Alfred Rice, the Roses and Samuel Bunn are said to have been the pioneers, while John Fox
and O. D. Bissell began work there about the period of which we write. Mr. Bunn's widow, Mrs. McPherrin, still
resides there, while Bissell, now gone, was the grange representative in the State Legislature. The Earlys were
a potent force in the development of that part of the country. James was afterward county treasurer two terms and
Tom has been, and still is, a leading politician and stock buyer. The Stewart home has long been a landmark there
and in that blacksmith shop so long operated by Robert Stewart, have been struck many of the effective blows essential
to the development of a county. 'Squire Hindman for many years dispensed justice and married people, later removing
to Monroe County, where he died. Then there were the Shermans, Devaults, Robinsons, Bairds, Jones, Estells, Crawfords,
Fords, Spears, McCorkles, Niblos, Meachems, Ham Lee and John Shoff. Lemuel Banker was a member of the board of
supervisors. James G. Beck, E. G. Perkins, Robert McCalman, John Spence and Rev. James Sawhill have been potent
forces in the moral and educational affairs of the county. Beck and Spence still remain to remind us of the olden
times. Reverend Sawhill died some years since but the force of his sterling Christian manhood still goes on producing
good results. William Kipp has long since died and the family moved away, but the place is still known as the Kipp
farm. The Aitchisons and Smiths came from Jackson County, Iowa, to Jackson Township in later times. The former
still remain but the latter are all gone except one. Father and Mother Smith are dead and the fine farm they improved
is now owned by Mr. Benjamin."
In the center of Jackson Township is a little hamlet, and scarcely that, named Pitzer, where there is a general
store. Close by is the United Presbyterian Church and the schoolhouse, the latter at the four corners made by the
joining of sections 15, 16, 21 and 22. There is not a railroad in the township but the citizens have easy access
to Winterset, about seven miles away.
Rev. John E. Darby lived in Jackson Township in early years and taught its first school. As will be seen by consulting
the general chapter on schools, this township is well provided with schoolhouses and churches, and with all other
modern conveniences, such as excellent roads, rural free delivery of mails, the telephone and the modern means
of rapid transit — the automobile — the people are living in more than comparative ease, comfort and prosperity.