CONGRESSIONAL township ninety two, range forty six, is what now constitutes Washington civil township. It at
one time belonged to Plymouth and America, but since June 5, 1871, has had a separate civil organization. It is
bounded on the north by Grant township, on the east by America, on the south by Plymouth, and on the west by Johnson
township. Its streams are Mink creek in the central northern part, with the West Fork of the Floyd river in the
eastern portion. Its population, in 1885, numbered 519, of whom 352 were American born.
The line of the Sioux City & Northern railroad, built in 1889, passes through this township, and has for a
station the platted village of Dalton, located on section thirteen, two miles to the west of Le Mars.
Early Settlement. - As was the case in so many townships in Plymouth county, in Washington the earliest settlers
were nearly all homesteaders. Citizens were entitled to eighty acres, while an ex-soldier or sailor could homestead
a quarter section.
The first settler, and the only one of the original homesteaders now living in the limits of this township, is
J. J. Madden, who came from Sioux City, during the month of April, 1866, the year after the Civil war closed. He
availed himself of the homestead and pre-emption acts by claiming a quarter section of twenty four. Some he preempted
at government price. He has made for himself a beautiful, as well as very valuable home, but did not remove to
this land until 1868. Mr. Madden was an old railroad man, and had several grading contracts along the line of the
Illinois Central railroad, then known as the Dubuque & Sioux City company. Many were the hardships endured
by this worthy gentleman and his estimable family. It may be said in this connection that among the artificial
trees which adorn his premises, there is one, a "box elder," which stands near and overshadows the house,
and which, by annual trimming, has come to be of a perfect cone shape, and is one of the most magnificent and symmetrical
wild trees in all Iowa's fair, broad domain. It is the comment of every visitor, stranger and neighbor, and for
it has been offered a thousand dollars, providing its owner would transplant it and warrant it to live in some
of the residence lots in the city of Le Mars.
From Pioneer Madden the writer learned that at the time he came to Washington township, there were no other settlers
for many miles to the north and east. The next to come in as neighbors were C. G. Norris (now in the meat market
business at Le Mars), who settled on section twenty four, and George Evans, who later removed to other parts, and
died about 1875.
In 1868 Thomas Calhoun homesteaded the southwest quarter of section twelve, where he now resides. John and Alexander
Calhoun, brothers, came in at the same time and settled on section twelve. They have both removed years ago. The
east half of section twenty six was claimed by a man named Howes, now living in Johnson township. James Hoover
was a very early homesteader on the northwest quarter of section twenty four. He removed and has been dead many
years. C. J. Young settled on the southeast quarter of section one in 1868, where he still remains, a prosperous
farmer and honored citizen of his county. Peter Eagen, now of Le Mars, claimed the southwest quarter of section
thirty six. After proving up, he sold and left the township. J. H. Mod, afterward county treasurer, made settlement,
in 1869, on section thirty six. He kept a general store, the only one in Plymouth county for some time. He finally
removed to Seattle, Wash., where he now lives. His sketch appears elsewhere in this work
Schools, Etc. - The first term of school was taught about 1870, in a school house erected on section twenty four;
it was moved from place to place, and is now situated on the northwest quarter of the same section.
At present (1890) there are six sub-districts, each provided with a good frame school house. There are now 155
pupils enrolled in the township. Around the various school grounds there are 320 shade trees, perhaps more than
around those in any other township in Plymouth county. This speaks well for the culture and refinement of the population.
There is no church building within Washington township. The German Methodists hold services in different school
buildings throughout the township, bonds being given for the good care of the property.
Dalton Station, named in honor of P. F. Dalton, of Le Mars, is platted on section thirteen, two miles west of the
city of Le Mars, and is a station on the newly constructed railroad, known as the Sioux City & Northern. It
was platted in the fall of 1889, hence has made but little growth to this time. A postoffice has been established
there, which is the second one in the township. At an early day one was established at J. H. Morf's general store,
in the southeast corner of the township, but was abandoned soon after railroad days - 1870. Dalton also supports
quite a grain and live stock market, the former conducted by Mr. Gilbert and the latter by Mr. Pemberton. A general
merchandise store is operated by a man named Wilson. This, with what in these days is known as a "hole in
the wall" - a beer saloon in violation of law - constitutes the business interests of Dalton.