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


CONGRESSIONAL township ninety, range forty three west, since June 6, 1882, has been known as Henry civil township. Prior to that it was included in what was styled Union. Henry is south of Remsen township and west of the Cherokee county line, north of Garfield township and east of Union township. It contains over 22,200 acres, the greater part of which is valuable farming land. Whiskey creek and Rathbun creek are the principal streams. The former runs from north to south, through the eastern portion of the territory. In 1885 the state census gave the population as 260, 183 being of foreign birth.

Early Settlement - The first pioneer who came into Henry township is still a resident and an active citizen, and to him the writer is indebted for much of the information contained in this early settlement review.

D. S. Rathbun broke the first land in what is now Henry township, in 1876, having taken a "tree claim" on the northeast quarter of section eighteen. He sold out to J. W. Hawkins, who was the first actual settler to locate in the township. He built a house, which forms a part of his present residence, in the spring of 1879. Mr. Hawkins now owns the north half of the section, and is a progressive farmer. He emigrated from the southern states soon after the close of the Civil war, in which he took an active part. The first land he purchased cost him $5 per acre.

One of the next to effect settlement in this township was Col. James Fenton, who located a fine stock ranch in 1881, on section eleven, known as the Karlton stock farm, which contains 1,000 acres of highly improved land.

Next came Henry Schuett and Henry Breiholtz. The former bought the northeast quarter of section seventeen, in 1881, and still resides there upon a well tilled farm. Breiholtz bought and improved the northeast quarter of section nine, the same year. Then came in John Toothman and Mrs. A. C. Peebles. Toothman bought and improved the northwest quarter of section thirty one, in 1882, and Mrs. Peebles the south half of section thirty two, the same season.

Herron Brothers bought and improved all of section nineteen, in 1882-83. It is now known throughout this section as the Herron Bros. stock ranch.

Henry Mundt and Emil Boehmke came into the territory next, settling on sections five and six, respectively, where they now possess two of the finest farms in Plymouth county. Daniel Arbuthnot settled, in 1882, on the northwest quarter of section seventeen, where he remained until 1888, then sold to H. J. Bolfs for $25 per acre, and moved to Los Angeles, Cal. He is the only one of the first settlers to remove from Henry township. In 1883 came William Treptow and his son, C. W., and located on the south half of section thirteen. The father died and left the property to his son, C. W. A. F. Pfaffie also took land that year on section thirteen.

In 1884-85 Thomas Healey, N. L. Hixson and Gerhart Fokken settled on sections thirty one and thirty two, where they still remain.

Early Events. - Henry township was organized and named in 1882 by J. W. Hawkins. It had been called East Union.

The first election was held at the house of Henry Schuett, where the first officers were elected as follows. Henry Schuett, Daniel Arbuthnot, John Moellers, trustees; J. W. Hawkins, justice and assessor; J. H. Herron, clerk; James Peebles, constable. Mr. Hawkins, making an efficient officer, has held the position ever since, having been elected four times in succession.

The first school house was erected in 1883, on the northwest quarter of section eight; it is termed "Hawkins" school house, and the first teacher was Miss Mary A. McCartney, of Union township.

The first marriage in the township was that of Henry Mundt to a lady from the east. The next was A. F. Pfaffie to Miss Huldah Treptow. The first birth was a son to Mr. and Mrs. Mundt.

The growth of Henry township has been very rapid. At the first election twenty four votes were polled - four republican and twenty democratic. At the present date, 1890, the assessor's books show 120 voters, 104 of whom are subject to military duty.

Schools. - As already stated, the first school was taught in 1883. As settlement increased, due attention was paid to school matters, and according to the school superintendent's annual report for 1889, Henry township had six sub-districts, each provided with a handsome frame building. The school attendance was then 130 pupils.

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