History of Elkhorn Township, Plymouth County, IA
From: History of the Counties of Woodbury and Plymouth, Iowa
A Warner & Co., Publishers
Chicago Illinois, 1890-91

ELKHORN TOWNSHIP is that portion of Plymouth county 4 described by congressional township ninety and range forty four west. It is on the south line of the county, with Garfield township to its east, Union on the north and Lincoln on the west. Not unlike the remainder of Plymouth county, this township is noted for its excellent land and fine natural drainage system, formed by numerous creeks and rivers, among which may be mentioned the West Fork of the Little Sioux river, in the south and western portion; also Muddy creek, in the western part, leaving the territory from section four; John's creek is another small prairie stream. These principal water courses are each supplied with many lesser feeders.

Elkhorn township was constituted a separate civil organization, by an act of the board of county supervisors, dated September 3, 1877. Prior to that time it was included in what was styled Lincoln township. The population, which now numbers about 500, in 1885 was only 300, 240 of which were American born.

The village plat of Quorn, on section twenty five, was platted in September, 1880, but owing to the building up of the railroad town of Kingsley, a mile to the east, it is now defunct, virtually.

First Settlement - In going about, along well improved highways, with excellent farms on either hand attracting the attention of the passer by, the question naturally arises, today, "Who was the first to claim land and build for himself a home in this goodly territory?" By careful research among the pioneers, it is learned that in 1876 Charles Bullis came from Franklin county, Iowa, and purchased land in the autumn of that year, on section twenty six, township ninety and range forty four, which now constitutes Elkhorn civil township. At that date there was not a house of any description to be seen in Elkhorn's eastern neighboring township of Garfield.

Mr. Bullis said, in an interview with the collector of this historical matter, that the settlement, in general was made as follows:

Four members of a family named Higday settled in the northwest corner of the township. One moved away; two are deceased; and one, named Joseph, is still a resident.

Nearly all the pioneers of this township made homestead entries, George Evans locating on the southwest quarter of section seventeen. John and "Mike" Trow claimed land on the southeast of section seventeen. The former is still living there; his brother, Gresh, who located on section nine, is now dead. A Mr. Mann settled along the west line of the township, and remained until about 1886. Hugh Mason, who is still an honored resident, effected a settlement on sections thirty one and thirty two. J. J. Edwards settled on section twenty nine, but subsequently removed to another county. P. J. Ward was one of the very earliest settlers, and is still a resident of this township. He settled on section twenty four, where he now enjoys the fruit of his labors, in the possession of a most valuable farm, upon which is situated a magnificent grove, planted and cultivated by his own hands. S. North settled on the north half of the southwest quarter of section fourteen. He is now deceased. Henry Addington located on a part of section twenty four, but soon removed. A man named Cain settled on the northwest of section thirty two; and one named Bruseau on section twenty. They subsequently removed to California.

From about 1877 settlement was made more rapidly. In 1876 the township had about twenty voters within her borders.

Schools. - The first term of school was taught in 1868, at the Higday school house by Al. Higday. The first school houses were erected on section thirty two and section six - both built the same year. As the settlers increased, new sub-districts were made, and provided with good frame buildings, until today the township has six subdistricts, each having a good school edifice. The total enrollment of pupils in 1889 was 142. The schools are in an excellent condition, and keep pace with new educational methods in all respects.

First Events. - The first marriage in what now comprises Elkhorn, was that of Arthur Duffy, in 1872.

The first religious services were held at the Higday school house, by Rev. C. W. Batchelor (Methodist), in 1868.

The first death was that of Sarah North, in 1877, saged sixty seven years. The first child born was Emma Kane, in 1872.

A Big Wheat Farm. - In August, 1881, the subjoined item was published in the "Sentinel:" "The Paullin Brothers' great wheat farm of Elkhorn township contains 4,000 acres, one half of which is now under cultivation. The farm is managed by Hudson Mickley. Last spring 785 acres were put into wheat and the last of it was cut last Monday. Four celebrated Walter A. Woods' twine binders were employed, which, aided by a few men, placed an average of forty five acres per day into the shock. They begin threshing next week. The Nichols & Shepard steam thresher will have to hum lively for fully three weeks, as there are about 7,000 bushels of last year's crop to thresh, besides this year's. The same men also have a 400 acre field in O'Brien county, besides 1,200 acres of flax in one body."

Village of Quorn. - October 2, 1880, there was platted by the Close Brothers, a village named Quorn, located on section twenty five of Elkhorn township. It was expected that the Chicago & Northwestern railway line would eventually be constructed through its limits, but the company, not liking the Johnny Bull methods of inducing railways to their embryo towns, finally platted Kingsley, one mile to the east, which fact forever blighted the fair hopes of Quorn and its projectors. However, before this much had transpired, the village had commenced to thrive and put on western city airs. Several general stores were being operated; a postoffice was petitioned for and granted, and John Gaspar was the first to hold the office of postmaster. A roller mill was built and operated by Heacock Brothers, and still does a paying business. Gaspar Brothers, Rathbun & Ireland and Mr. Varner all conducted good stores, from which general goods and hardware were sold. A newspaper, known as the Quorn "Lynx," was established at this point in 1883 by Frank Calhoun, who subsequently removed it to Kingsley, and gave it the title of "Kingsley Times."

With the oncoming of immigration, and the push which always centers around a new railroad town, the village of Quorn was left out in the cold, and now may justly be classed among the defunct places of the county. But while there remains nothing save the old mill and a few foundation stones, together with a few residences, to remind the passer by of a town site, yet, so long as memory is theirs, the old settler - the early pioneer of long ago days - will often refer to Quorn and think of the good time fully come, when they could get flour to eat and mail matter, including a home paper to read, within that half deserted plat - the village of Quorn.


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