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


BY government survey, Hungerford would be described as township ninety, range forty six west. It at one time was embraced in the civil townships of Lincoln and Plymouth. but by an act of the supervisors it was constituted a separate organization, April 7, 1875.

Hungerford is located on the south line of the county, with Lincoln township to its east, Plymouth to its north, and Perry to its west. The line of the Illinois Central and Minneapolis & Omaha (consolidated) traverses this township from north to south, with stations known as James and Hinton. The Sioux City & Northern road runs parallel. It is a well developed agricultural district, with signs of thrift and prosperity on every hand. Its population is mixed - American, German and Canadian - and in 1885 numbered about 600, but at this time has come to be much larger. It was named in honor of an early settler, E. S. Hungerford.

The Floyd river meanders from section three to section thirty one, while Carter creek takes its source from section twenty four, and flows northeast, having confluence with the Floyd on section four. A half dozen smaller streams add to the beauty, fertility and value of the township.

Pioneer Settlement - The first attempt to settle this goodly township was in 1856, when a colony of immigrants came in from Ogle county, Ill., in the month of July.

John and Henry Schneider, of the large family of Schneiders, settled in Hungerford, while the balance of the family located in Plymouth township. Henry was a mere boy, but John pre-empted a part of section four, where he still resides, a well to do farmer. Most of the party came by team, but John Schneider walked the entire distance, coming via Dubuque, then a small town. Morgan Stafford came the same time, and pre-empted land on section four, where he remained until 1863, and then removed to Kansas. Mr. Carter preempted land on section two, in 1856, moved to his place in 1857, and during war times he sold and moved farther west.

A. E. Rea came about 1857, settled on section ten, was a prominent man in county affairs, was elected treasurer and recorder, but removed to another part of the state a few years since.

K S. Hungerford (for whom the township was named) came in from Illinois in 1856, and settled on section thirty two. He was county supervisor for many years, and died in this township in 1889.

C. E. Sheetz settled in. 1856. He was county surveyor, and held many of the early offices. He had every chance for becoming a wealthy man, hat through some lack of management never prospered. In 1887 he moved to Kansas. Philip, Fred and Erhard Held all came in prior to 1861, and made land purchases. Philip and Erhard still live in the township; Fred was accidentally killed by a horse, in 1886: There were no other settlers until long after the close of the Rebellion, up to about 1868-69, when many flocked in and claimed lands, prior to the completion of the Illinois Central road.

Early Events. - The first mill in the county was built on section nine of this township. It is on the Floyd river, and was first a buhr mill, but now has a "roller" system, which produces flour second to none in Iowa. It was built in 1867-68, by Hoese Bros.

It seems probable that the first person to die within Hungerford township was the wife of a man named Verrigut. She died during the war, and was buried on section four - a place where all the early dead were laid away to rest. The spot has long since been abandoned as a cemetery. The first marriage in the township was that of Morgan Stafford to Miss Catharine Schmidt. The first school was taught on section sixteen, in war times. The first religious services were held by the Baptist people, at the house of Pioneer Sheetz. No societies have ever been organized in this township, except those at James station.

Hinton Station. - This is a small hamlet. a station of not much business importance, on the Illinois Central railroad, and is situated on section eight. The first general merchandise store at this point was conducted by A. C. Davis, in 1883. A postoffice was established in 1883, with Samuel Davis as postmaster. He was followed by James Davis; then came H. S. Hubbard, and in turn B. F. Bogenrief who served until September 7, 1889, when G. W. Sheetz was commissioned. The only traffic of Hinton today is transacted at the general stores of Bogenrief & Co. and G. W. Sheetz. The first named firm handles grain also. H. E. Jenkins is the blacksmith of the hamlet. Mrs. H. E. Winters conducts a sort of hotel, where the traveler is well provided for.

Village of James. - James is a station on the Illinois Central, Omaha and Sioux City & Northern railroads, located on section thirty. It was platted May 26, 1876, by the railroad company. Frederick Prust built the first house on the plat in the summer of 1872. J. & E. Schindel put in the first general store in the building bought from Mr. Prust, in 1875. A postoffice was established in the fall of 1874, with one of the Schindels as postmaster. He was succeeded by A. W. Clancy in 1886. He held it until his death, in October, the same year, when Fanny Clancy was appointed, and still holds the office. The Schindels dealt in general merchandise, grain, coal and stone. Peter Peterson conducted the hotel, and sold groceries and coal. James Fulton, the pioneer blacksmith, is still an honored workman of the village, who attends to blacksmithing, pump and well drilling work. He came to James in June, 1875.

The Methodist Episcopal church at this point was formed in the spring of 1889, with twenty three members, which is also the present number. The present pastor is Rev. G. Griggs. The average of Sabbath school attendance is about eighty. A neat frame church was erected in 1889, costing $1,600.

While James is not large, yet it supplies the people in that part of Plymouth county with the staples used in families and on the farm; gives a grain market, and also affords a good place at which to get mail and have repairing done.

Schools. - The first settlers believed in education as well as the people living in Hungerford today, for early during the Civil war, when but a handful of settlers were battling against the hardships of a new and altogether wild prairie country, we find that a school was maintained on section sixteen: With the passing years educational matters have never been left to lag, but always keeping pace with the march and progress of the more modern, improved methods. In 1889 the county school superintendent's report shows that Hungerford township had seven sub-districts, each provided with a good sized frame school building, and the average enrollment of scholars was, at that time, 160.

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