History of South 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


One of the three subdivisions of the county created was that of South Township, which became identified as such at the February term of the court in the year 1849, and the place selected for the first election was the house of Nathan Vinery. Before court had adjourned the boundary lines as first drawn were materially changed, and at the July term a further transformation in its lines was effected.

As now organized and laid out, South Township is bounded on the east by Warren County, on the west by Scott Township, on the north by Crawford Township and on the south by Ohio Township. For agricultural purposes and stock raising, this community has many superior advantages. Clanton Creek runs through it near the center from the southwest to the northeast and along its borders was found by the settlers a heavy grove of timber, which at the time was scarcely surpassed in the state. There are also numerous smaller streams, which furnish excellent water and drainage. Stone abounds on Clanton Creek and good veins of coal have been found on Buchanan Creek. There are two lines of railroads entering South Township. The Chicago Great Western cuts across this domain from the southwest corner to the northeast corner and a branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, formerly the Keokuk & Western, enters on section 34, and running northward passes through St. Charles by a diagonal course. Hanley is a station on the Great Western. Its religious society is the Methodist Episcopal.

A large part of South Township's history relating to its early settlement has already been told in this volume, so that it would be repetitious and rather irksome to go over the details in this chapter. However, the reader by this time is acquainted with the fact that the members of the Clanton colony were the first white persons to stake out claims and become settlers in this locality. It should also be remembered that Caleb Clark, whose wife was a Clanton, was one of the band of immigrants known as the Clanton colony.

David Bishop was among those who settled in South Township in 1847, coming that year from Shelby County, Indiana. He established a home on section 7, and at the time his family was the eleventh to set up a residence here. David Bishop was one of the first county commissioners and in 1857 was elected treasurer and recorder of the county.

The Fifes - Amos, David and Samuel - were natives of Columbiana County, Ohio, and settled in the township in December, 1849, the details of which will be found in an article written by Samuel Fife, hereinto incorporated, together with quite a comprehensive survey of other pioneers, who settled here and the essential facts relating thereto. Mr. Fife mentions the names of many of the hardy men and women who took part in opening the land here to cultivation and giving the township its start on its great road to progress and prosperity, so that their names will not be repeated, but their histories, as they relate to that of South Township, will be left to Samuel Fife to portray. There are many others, however, who deserve a place in this history not mentioned in the Fife reminiscences, and still others, the details of whose immigration to this county are not available So far as possible, therefore, what is known of the settlers following those mentioned will be here indicated.

M. C. Debord, a Virginian by birth, immigrated from Shelby County, Indiana, with his family to Illinois to 1843, from which state he came to Iowa, and in September, 1849, located on section 7, in this township, where he lived. for many years and enjoyed the fruits of a frugal and industrious life. He at one time served on the board of supervisors. Among his children born here was E. C. Debord, who married Miss Joan Hicks in 1873 and for many years lived on section 7.

J. C. Johnston and Madeline, his wife, left the State of Indiana in the spring of 1850 and arrived in Madison County, where they located, choosing for their home South Township. Jehu M. Johnston, a son, came the same year and located on section. 32. The journey from the Hoosier State was made in a wagon and required about two months. Mr. Jehu M. Johnston later moved to section 26.

T. J. Rhyno also moved into the county in 1850. He was a Virginian by birth but lived for many years in the State of Ohio, where he married Sarah Draper in 1848. Mr. Rhyno located on section 32. He entered 500 acres of land. It is said that when he left his home in Virginia he walked the whole distance to Louisville, Kentucky, and in 185o walked from Keokuk to South Township.

James A. Rhyno, also of Virginia, became a journeyman printer and worked at the trade for some time in Ohio and several of the southern states. He served in the Mexican war and during the winter of 1851 arrived in South Township, where he entered 16o acres of land on section 28.

The Runkles, Thomas and son, J. M., were settlers in this township in 1851. Thomas located on section 7, and in 185o married Catherine Guilliams. J. NI. Runkle located on section 1.

Nicholas Shaver was one of the first corners to the township. He was a native of Virginia, settled in Ohio, from which state he came by wagon to Madison County in 1851 and located on section 4 in 1853. George Hartman, came in 1851 and N. S. Allcock in 1847.

David Downs was born in Monroe County, Indiana, in 1824. He was married in 1848 and in 185o settled in Warren County, where he remained until the spring of 1851. He then came to Madison County and located in this township. Mr. Downs built the first sawmill in the township and with his partner, and father in law, George Hartman, was engaged in the lumber business about three years, when he removed to his home on section 24.

James Phipps located on section 35 in this township in 1851. He was a native of Grayson County, Virginia. When thirteen years of age his parents removed to Tennessee and from there to Missouri, from whence he came to Iowa, first locating in Warren County in 1846.

C. W. Thompson, who was long a justice of the peace, was an Ohioan by birth and came from his native state to this township with his parents in 1852.

Abraham Black was born in the Old Dominion in 1803 and with his family removed to Indiana in 1840, from whence he came to Madison County in 1852 and located on section 22, where Hanley now stands.

John Hartman came with his parents, George and Mary Hartman, from Hendricks County, Indiana, to Iowa, in 1850, and to this county in the spring of 1851, when they located on section 14, in South Township. The father died in 1873.

Hogan Queen was born in Wayne County, Indiana, in 1821, and married Martha A. Runkle in 1846. With his family he came to Madison County by wagon in 1853, spending sixteen days on the road and upon his arrival here, located on section 7, where he improved one of the finest farms in the county. Mr. Queen became a large landowners and one of the important men of the county.

J. M. Browne, a native of Pennsylvania, removed to Ohio when a young man and in the spring of 1855 came to Madison County and settled at St. Charles. In addition to being one of the pioneer merchants of the town he was also a farmer and stock raiser and accumulated considerable land. In August, 1862, he organized Company F, Thirty ninth Iowa Infantry and was elected its captain. After being wounded at the battle of Parker's Cross Roads, he resigned his commission and in the winter of 1865-6 represented this county in the Eleventh General Assembly. Captain Browne died in October, 1913.

N. P. Pomeroy was one of the worthy settlers who came to Madison County from Holmes County, Ohio, in 1855, and settled in this township. For many years his home was on section 17. He married Sarah J. Collins in 1860. She was also of Holmes County.

Jefferson Wheat arrived in South Township early in the '50s. His father bought a claim on section 26 and there the family took up their residence.

Thomas W. Stiles was one of the sturdy and worthy Hoosier farmers, who left his native state in 1858 and first settled in Warren County. Two years later he located on section 3, South Township. Stiles enlisted in Company F, Thirty ninth Iowa Infantry in 1862 as second lieutenant and on the resignation of Capt. James M. Browne he was promoted to fill the vacancy.

I. S. Taylor, a Pennsylvanian by birth, moved with his parents to New York and eventually found his wary to Indiana, from which state he immigrated to Iowa in 1858. He chose Madison County for his home and located on section 7, South Township.

James Young was born in Pennsylvania in 1831 and lived there until the spring of 1856, when he located on section t, this township. He was a veteran of the Civil war, being a member of Company F, Thirty ninth Iowa Infantry.

R. M. Young came in 1856. Located on section 12. He was a member of Company I, Thirty ninth Infantry.

Caleb Clark, after two or three removals, finally made his residence at Winterset. He was a mason, as were a number of his sons and it is doubtful if any one has done more hard work and more permanent work than the members of this pioneer family. The Clanton settlement was a stopping place for stock drovers and teamsters when the nearest market was at Keokuk and Eddyville. The Allcocks and Allens also stopped here and left their mark in the organization of Elm Grove Church. This was one of the first religious organizations formed in the county and it has been permanent and progressive. The old house of worship was recently removed and a beautiful new one erected in its place, with all modern conveniences.

Other early settlers are Nathan Vinery who came about 1848 settling on the west part section 18. Here the first election, January 1, 1849, was held in South Township. About 185o Mr. Viney sold his farm and moved to section 26, South, owning the farm west of the Viney Schoolhouse, named after him, also the cemetery to the west of the home, later known as the Summerville farm.

James Wheat came in 1851 and bought the claim of Charles Clanton on section 26 later owned bye Albert King.

Isaac Knotts came in 185o and settled on section 35, on land now owned by S. A. Bradshaw.

George Smith settled in 1847 on section 10 on the east side of Clanton Creek. He was the father of Mrs. Amos Fife, still living in St. Charles.

Isaac Smith settled in 1847, at the foot of the hill on section it, where Mr. Amos Fife lived for many years.

Pleasant Rollins settled on Clanton Creek on section 28, in 1847. His son, Caleb, lived in. that vicinity for many years. He was a soldier of the Civil war, dying a few years ago.

David Simmerman came in 1848, settling on the west part of section 15, south of the present home of W. A. Carter.

Hiram Clough and family came in 1852 settling where S. T. Johnston lives, section 25, and Oliver Morgan, in 1853, settled just east of them on the same section on land that is now owned by S. T. Johnston and J. P. Small.

In 1849 Jesse Young bought the claim of Caleb Clark on section t4 and in i85t sold to George Hartman. Mr. Hartman and Jesse Young in 1852 laid out the town of St. Charles.

Bud Whited came in 1847 with his brother in law, David Bishop, and settled in the northwest part of South Township near the present site of Union Chapel. This later became known as the M. C. Debord farm on section 7.

David Worley was a Methodist Episcopal preacher and in a very early day settled in section 3. Captain Stiles for many years owned the land.

Wm. Steigerwalt bought the first claim of Caleb Clark on section 10 and in 1853 sold to Mr. Steel, the father of Stephen Steel.

In 1855 William Bradshaw settled in section 36 on the farm now owned by his daughter, Mrs. Robert Phipps.

George Black came in 1852 and lived on section 36 for many years until his removal to St. Charles where he died about 1900.

Norval S. Allcock came in 1847 and bought the claim of Gifford Lee, now the present site of Hanley. His cabin was situated in the south part of the present site of Hanley near Mrs. Bishop's barn. He sold his claim to Abraham Black and bought the claim of Hiram Hurst on section 29 and moved there in the fall of 1851. Mr. Ailcock was a county commissioner in 1850. It was at his home that the early circuit rider stopped and held church occasionally. Meetings were held at his home and later in the school houses, from which developed the present Elm Grove Church.

Thus by the time of the Civil war, South Township was pretty well settled and contributed many men for the various regiments, especially the 39th.

The first schoolhouse, which was a log cabin, stood about a fourth of a mile north of J. M. Clanton's residence and was built about 185o. The building answered its purposes until about 1858, when it became a storeroom in St. Charles. Another schoolhouse took its place which, when discarded by the authorities, was converted into a harness shop, and is still used as a store.

Log raising and fitting them snugly and securely at the corners required a certain amount of expertness and among the settlers there were some who were adepts at the business, and when a cabin was to be raised their services were always in demand. Among the principal ones better known as "corner men" around St. Charles about the year 1849 were Joel Clanton, Samuel Fife, George Black, and David Downs. Samuel Fife helped raise cabins and fit the corners along South River and Clanton to Middle River. Mr. Fife says very little whiskey was used at these raisings and that he never happened to be at a raising where whiskey was present. However, he says that when Sheckels' house was raised in St. Charles in 1854, one Clerly, while sitting in the shade, met his death by a log falling on him. It is said that if the man had been sober he could have easily saved himself from harm. At the time Clerly lived on David Lathrum's place west of St. Charles.

Before the Civil war, any person so inclined and possessing the material and experience, could manufacture whiskey without let or hindrance from the Government. About 186o Tom Young had a distillery on his place in St. Charles, which he sold to Jacob Kimer, who moved it to his farm, west of Hanky, now owned by Sanford Johns, where he put up a special building near a big spring and close to the main road. There he continued to make "fire water" until two years after the war, when the still was forced out of business thereafter by the mandates of the law.


The writer of the lines following was a daughter of Caleb Clark, a son in law of Mrs. Clanton, and a member of the Clanton colony. She was the first white female born in Madison County, January 9, 1847, and, according to local historians, she is credited with being ahead of all others in this respect, male or female. This little bud grew into a choice prairie flower, which was plucked by Andrew Tusha for his own. A few years ago, Mrs. Tusha was called upon by the Madisonian to relate some of her early recollections and this is what she said: "According to our old family Bible, I was born January 9, 1847, in Madison County, Iowa, about one mile from St. Charles on what is known as the old Hartman farm. From there father moved to the old Asa Evans farm in 1849, and from there to another place a little nearer Winterset. About that time was the California emigration and father traded a cow for a stove. That was the first stove I ever saw. About that time father bought the first clock I ever saw. Brother Frank Clark has the clock yet. I went to my first school while we lived there. They had home made stools, without any backs. From that place father moved to Winterset when I was seven or eight years old. There I went to school in the first schoolhouse built in Winterset. It stood about the same place as where the South Ward school is now. We lived in Winterset until I was married to Andrew Tusha in 1866. Then Mr. Tusha and I moved to a farm on North Branch, sold out there and moved to the Middle River bottom, close to what is known as the Tusha Schoolhouse. Mr. Tusha helped organize the district and build the schoolhouse. We lived there about sixteen years and then moved to Hoosier Prairie, and from there to St. Charles, and from St. Charles we came to Elida, New Mexico, in 1905. Our son and son in law also came to Elida and filed on claims. There are schoolhouses all over the country and we have an eight room schoolhouse in Elida."


The first settlers in South Township were Joel M. Clanton, Isaac Clanton, Charles Clanton, Caleb Clark and their families, who came from Missouri in the spring of 1846, and settled near the present site of St. Charles. They were so busily occupied in building homes and clearing the forest that for the first few years no attention was given to schools. Soon other settlers came and by 1849 there were several families living in the county.

The organization of schools rested with the school fund commissioner. An original document was found among old papers at the township clerk's office, of South Township, describing a school district, which included the present district of St. Charles, and reads as follows: "N. S. Alicock. Sir: I have this day formed a school district, No. 3, in South Township, Madison County as follows: Beginning at the southwest corner of section 30 in township 75 and range 26, thence east 3 miles to the northeast corner of section 2, in township 75, in range 26, thence south 5 miles to the southeast corner of section 36, in township 75, in range 26, thence west to the place of beginning, and you are hereby requested to notify the qualified voters within said bounds, to meet at the house of Joel M. Clanton therein on the loth inst. at 2 o'clock P. M. and then and there proceed to elect by ballot one secretary, one president and one treasurer for said school district.

"Given under my hand officially this loth day of September, 1849.
"School Fund Commissioner of M. C.; Iowa."

On the opposite side of the paper upon which the above was written, the following appears: "A list of white persons residing in school district No. 3, of South Township, Madison County, between the ages of five and twenty one years, taken between the 15th of September and the 1st of October, A. D., 1849; Joel Clanton, Nancy Clanton, William Clanton, Isaac W. Clanton, Moses E. Clanton, George Clanton, Thomas N. Clanton, William N. Canton, Charles F. Clanton, John Clanton, Lucinda Clanton, Sarah M. Clanton, Rachel Clanton, Louisa J. Clark, Rachel C. Clark, Sarah E. Clark, Nancy E. Clark, Sunthaan Clark, George W. Clark, Granvill A. Smith, Lucinda Smith, William C. Smith, Mary Jane Smith, Lucy Ann Smith, Sary L. Smith, Elizabeth R. Smith, Lucinda E. Hail, Orlenia T. Hail, Jesse M. Hail, Willey Stagerwalt, Henry A. Stagerwalt, Martin Stagerwalt, Fearick Stagerwalt, Sarah E. Stagerwalt, Maranda Stagerwalt, Heserkiah Stagerwalt."

In accordance with this call the following officers were elected: President, George Smith; secretary, N. S. Allcock; treasurer, William C. Allcock.

No school was held that year but the following season a log schoolhouse was built in Frank Clanton's pasture, near the north side and about twenty rods west of the turn of the road south of Mr. Vanatta's house and about ten rods north of where the slaughter house stood.

Abner Bell, of Patterson, was the first teacher. School was held in the fall and winter of 1850-51 and the pupils attending were: Joel Clanton, William Clanton, Wesley Clanton, Moses Clanton, Margaret Allcock, Frances Allcock, Lorenzo Ailcock, John Simmerman, James Simmerman, Jacob Simmerman, Sarah L. Smith, Elizabeth Smith, Lucy Ann Smith, Mary Jane Smith, Daniel Smith, George Smith, George Clanton, Thomas Clanton, Nancy Clanton, William W. Clanton, Charles Frank Clanton, Samuel Fife, James Bell, Mary Jane Bell.

The taxpayers of South Township at this time are indicated by the following: "A true list of the taxable property of the district, as taken from the assessment roll of the county, this 2d day of July, A. D. 1850.

Norval S. Allcock


William Allcock


Charles Clanton


Isaac Clanton


Joel M. Canton


David Fife


Amos Fife


George Smith


Isaac Smith


David Simmerman


Nathan Viney


Jesse Young


Isaac Knotts


James M. Lee


Clement Lee


Jacob Kinkamon


David Rals


Joseph Miller

23 1/2

"N. S. Allcock, Secretary of School District No. 3 South Township." All were marked paid except the last two.

Continued with the City of St. Charles.

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