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


THIS civil organization is the second from the east and also from the north line of Plymouth county. It formerly belonged with other subdivisions of the county, which, as the settlement advanced, were cut down, and is now described as congressional township ninety two, range forty four. It is situated south of Fredonia township, west of Remsen, north of Union and east of America township, and contains thirty six full sections. The line of the Dubuque & Sioux City (Illinois Central) railway traverses the northern part of the township.

The village of Oyens was platted on section five, in the month of October, 1886, but has never come to be a place of any great business importance. Deep creek courses its way through the northern part of this township, while Plymouth creek flows in the central part, extending on west. But few townships in the county are more favorably situated than Marion. Her population is about equally divided between Americans and Germans. The census of 1885 gave the township an enumeration of 650, which is much larger today.

First Settlement. - The American people, and those who become American citizens, even by adoption, are given to moving and changing about, perhaps, more than any other class of people on the globe, unless we may possibly except the Jewish race, who always see some better country ahead, and they generally succeed in that new location, wherever it may be! Here, in Plymouth county's twenty four townships, one finds people from almost every country on the earth. We also find men and women who have come hither from nearly all the many states within our own great Union. While, in tracing out the early settlement of Elgin township, we find nearly half of the original homestead claimers were from northern Illinois, here, in Marion township, one finds that the first pioneers came from Michigan.

The most of the earliest homesteaders - the first actual settlers of the township - have removed from the bounds of the county, and the very earliest events were never made a matter of record; but by consulting Pioneer William Hall, it is learned that he came to the township in 1872, and that upon his arrival the following were all homesteaders, some of whom are still honored residents of the same tracts of land which they at first settled upon, together with many additions made by them since that date. The first homesteader came in about 1868. Marion Lobdel, who was then a single man, claimed a portion of section two, where he still resides. A Mr. Johnson claimed the northwest quarter of section eighteen. Silas Forbes homesteaded a part of section nineteen, where he still resides. He came from Michigan prior to 1872. Ed. Covill homesteaded land on section eighteen. He died several years afterward. W. L. Shaw, another settler of very early date, came from Michigan and took land on the southeast quarter of section twenty, which he improved and finally sold, and then removed to section twenty nine, where he is now renting. Fred Herman, a German and a single man, came with his mother from Detroit, Mich., and both took homesteads on section eight, where he still farms and is still unmarried. "Johny" Evans located his homestead on another part of section eight, where he still lives. P. S. Vaughn was an early homesteader on the southwest quarter of section twenty. He still holds the land, but now resides in Sioux City. He was a married man and came from Michigan.

Henry Mohing came from Clay county, Iowa, in 1872 or 1873, and claimed the southwest quarter of section fifteen, where he still lives. Charles Adamson came prior to 1872, locating on the northeast quarter of section twenty eight. He now follows the painter's trade in the city of Le Mars. Thomas Adamson, a brother of the one above named, took land on the same section, and is also a painter at Le Mars.

Patrick Hickey came in from Michigan prior to 1872, and claimed a part of section six, where he still resides. He was a man of family at the time of his immigration to Plymouth county. Another early settler, who came prior to 1872, may be mentioned - Charles Wright, who took land on section twenty. He now lives at Le Mars and deals in fruits.

William Hall, from whom the historian gained most of the valuable information concerning Marion township, removed from the big pine woods of Michigan, when a single man, in October, 1872. He bought railroad land at $7.50 per acre, purchasing a quarter section on section seventeen, where lie still resides. He bad breaking done the next season, 1873, and then returned to Michigan and worked for a year, and then moved permanently to the township. He is now a man of family and a successful, highly esteemed farmer, who relates much of interest concerning the early days of the settlement of what has now come to be one of the most valuable and highly improved sections of Plymouth county.

John Hoffmann became a resident of the township about 1875, locating on section nineteen. He finally sold and now resides at Le Mars. About the above date, John Rollings became a settler on section thirty, where he still lives. John Aird came in 1875, from Michigan, and took land on section seventeen, which place he still occupies.

Schools. - The first school house was erected on section seven. Much attention has been paid to the schools of this part of the county, and now, 1890, the township is provided with four good frame public school buildings, each within a sub-district. The total enrollment of pupils according to the county superintendent's last annual report was 200. While this township is purely one of agriculture, yet its citizens see the necessity of a good common school education for their children, hence the taxes paid in that direction are freely given.

Religious. - There are no churches within Marion township. The early religious services here, as in most western places, were held by the Methodist people, at private homes, and later at school buildings. At times the American and foreign element have not fully agreed concerning the use of school houses for such purpose, and in consequence, the religious element has not developed and grown as it would under a more harmonious state of affairs. In 1873 a Congregational minister, named Sawyer, held services in this locality, and a year later Dr. Stanley, a Methodist local preacher, undertook to evangelize the farmers, whom he saw all at work, cutting grain, on the Sabbath day. He went out Sunday forenoon and canvassed the sparsely settled township, and got every one to agree to come and hear him preach at the school house in the afternoon (never saying a word against the harvest work they were doing). So it was that in the afternoon he had a good congregation of farmers, some of whom drove their reapers from the field, and remained in their seats on the reapers, listening to the good man of God, while he preached the Word of Life. There was a class formed in 1875, which is still kept up; it belongs to the Remsen circuit.

The Poor Farm of Plymouth county is situated on the north half of section sixteen. It contains 280 acres, all well improved. The number of paupers, however, is so small that no costly, elaborate buildings have as yet been needed, and the county authorities lease the farm land. But when the time comes that the unfortunate poor shall multiply sufficiently to require such improvements, no county has a finer tract of land upon which to keep her poor people.

Village of Oyens. - The only village plat of Marion township is that known as Oyens, which was platted in 1886, on section five. It is simply a railroad station and postoffice point on the line of the Illinois Central railroad, midway between Le Mars and Remsen. As Marion township is situated so near to Remsen and Le Mars, but little business has ever developed at Oyens.

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