Monroe Township lies in the southern tier of townships and was organized in the year 1860. It is bounded on
the south by Union County, on the west by Grand River Township, on the north by Lincoln Township and on the east
by Walnut Township. Clanton Creek passes through the township near the center from west to east and there is a
large body of heavy timber on the stream, especially at Big Grove, also an abundance of limestone of considerable
value. The surface of the country is quite rolling and in many places rough, much more so than any other township
in the county. As found originally it had large tracts of waste land, many acres of which have been reclaimed by
modern methods of drainage and clearing of fields, and today the farms in Monroe Township give every evidence of
fruitfulness and having been under the diligent hand of good husbandmen. There are many small rivulets and valuable
streams in Monroe and abundance of good range for stock, which makes the locality very desirable for those engaged
in stock raising, to which many farmers resident here have given a great deal of attention, especially to the better
grade of animals. When one considers the many farms which are splendidly improved, the fairly good roads, and the
twentieth century conveniences of the telephone, daily rural free delivery of mails and generous use of automobiles,
one can feel well assured that the Monroe Township farmer is living pretty much on a par with his neighbors in
the other townships of the county, or anywhere else for that matter. Monroe has neither a trading point nor postoffice
within her borders, nor a railroad, with the exception of a short piece of the Great Western which cuts across
its extreme southeast corner on section 36. On this transportation line to the north and but five miles from Monroe
is East Peru. The Winterset-Lorimor thoroughfare runs north through the center of the township to Winterset six
miles away from the north township line and to the west is Macksburg, so that those living within the township
have market places on all four sides of it.
A son of the Emerald Isle named Malone is credited with being the first settler in Monroe Township, coming here
as early as 1852. James Brittain and Isaac Nichols were also here that early, but this claim to priority has been
disputed in favor of Seth Barrow and his father; Micajah Martin, Alfred and Pleasant Brittain, A. H. Bertholf and
one Boher and Hicks, who it is said came in 1851.
A man by the name of Shipley located in the township in 1853 and bought the claims of Hicks and Boher.
In the year 1854 the population of the township was increased by William Boling, John Bancroft, Lewis and George
Linton, Philip and John Moore, William Claim, William Berry and John Berry. Soon thereafter came Frank Bosworth,
Samuel Hamilton, N. Clark and H. Harris.
John Bancroft immigrated from England to the United States in 1847 and settled in Indiana, where he remained until
the year 1853 and came to this state and county, settling in Monroe Township. Mrs. Chenoweth, whom he married in
1859, was his second wife. Mr. Bancroft became one of the substantial farmers and citizens of the township and
held various of the township offices.
The Berrys came from Indiana but were natives of Kentucky. Their names are closely identified with the early history
of the township.
J. J. Berry settled in the county in March, 1854. With his father, William, came Charles Boling to the township.
He married Mollie Bivins in 1878. E. L. Boling settled here in 1856, held township offices and in 1863 married
Elizabeth Williams. William Boling for many years lived on section 2.
Simeon Hamblin was a native of Pennsylvania. He removed to Ohio in 1831 and from there immigrated to the Prairie
State of Iowa in 1854 and took up his permanent residence in this township. He held various offices of the community
and died January to, 1874, leaving seven children, one of whom was a son, Christopher C., who enlisted in the Civil
war and died from disease in Mississippi.
Another early settler was M. Bullock. He came from Indiana in 1855 and for many years lived on section 22. He was
a member of the Forty-seventh Iowa Infantry and in 1870 married Sarah Alexander.
J. C. Foster, an Ohioan, also located in this township in 1855. With his brother, D. F. Foster, he for many years
conducted a large grocery business. He married Harriet Lake in 1857.
John Lewis located here in 1855, coming from the State of Ohio.
John Cornelison was born in Butler County, Ohio, in 1814. He removed to Indiana, from whence he emigrated to Iowa
in 1857. In 1859 he located in Monroe Township.
The Brittains lived in Buchanan County, Missouri, before coming to Madison County, Iowa. They arrived here in March,
1852. Pleasant Brittain enlisted in Company A, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry, and was mustered out in June, 1865.
Returning to his home in Douglas Township, be married Sarah Cox and settled on section 32, Jefferson Township.
Of Monroe Township and its people, E. R. Zeller lately had the following to say: "The Bohings have lived in
Monroe Township from way back. The irrepressible Samuel will soon move to Lorimor. Some of the others have moved
away and others have been called to their final account. The Berrys also are mostly all gone and so are the Bancrofts
and Littons. Of the Sheldons, Charles remains, while M. R. Sheldon, who lived in Winterset, died a few years ago.
The above mentioned, together with the Bullocks, Bivins, Edwards, Kilgores, J. V. Kirk, Hugh Alexander, D. M. Tomlinson,
the Fosters and Falmers, Wesley Wilson, P. M. Rhodes and V. L. Callison, constituted the men chiefly active during
the formative period of the county. Time has made great changes and the men who helped most to make Monroe Township
are mostly gone. Mr. Callison and Mr. Kirk remain, both having served the country as volunteers in the Grand Army,
the former from Illinois and the latter from Ohio and at the conclusion of their service came to a new country
to conquer homes in a new land. Both became remarkably successful in business and long will be remembered for the
part they took in the affairs of the county. Monroe Township has furnished three members of the board of supervisors
— Charles Polk, H. H. Kilgore and M. O. Brady. H. C. Leasman, a native of Germany, settled here at an early day
and has done much toward the development of the material resources of the county. George Frederickson, now of Winterset,
put in many an eighteen-hour day on a farm in Monroe Township."
There are two well attended churches in Monroe Township — the Methodist Episcopal, located on section 8, and one
on section 22.