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


WESTFIELD is the second township from the north line of the county, and is on the western border. Portland township is north, Johnson east, Sioux south and the Big Sioux river, or Iowa state line, on the west. As constituted at present, it comprises all of congressional township ninety two, range forty eight west, except the northern tier of sections, which is included in Portland. It also contains a part of range forty nine, which takes in all that portion east of the Big Sioux river. Westfield was one of the two original civil townships of Plymouth county. When the county was organized (or soon after), it was divided into Plymouth and Westfield civil townships. Westfield was described as follows: Congressional township ninety, ranges forty seven and forty eight; township ninety one, ranges forty seven, forty eight and forty nine; township ninety two, ranges forty seven, forty eight and forty nine, and west half of township ninety two, range forty six; also township ninety three, ranges forty six, forty seven and forty eight. Later on Westfield was included in Johnson township, but May 3, 1878, took its present bounds.

The general topography of the township is rolling. Its streams are the Westfield creek, running from the northeast to the southwest. emptying into the Big Sioux river; Broken Kettle creek, which flows through the southwestern part, and which is quite a stream. The population in 1885 was 211, 180 of which were American born. The only village in this township is Westfield, on section twenty seven, a mere hamlet.

Pioneer Settlement. - Hunters and trappers had, from time to time, gone over this section of the county, but not until 1857 was any attempt made at settlement. During that year the following took up land under the pre-emption act: L T. Martin, Thomas McGill, John Hipkins, Joseph Goson and Mr. Vidito. The hard times of 1857, together with the oncoming of the great Civil war, caused the township to become depopulated, and for a time, almost entirely deserted. The Western Land company platted what is now referred to as Old Westfield village, in 1858, it being then believed that the Dubuque & Sioux City railway line would cross the Big Sioux at this point and run on to Yankton, Dak.

Ed. Moody was township clerk in 1857, and it is said absconded with some of the funds in his charge.

No further attempt was made to settle the township until 1871; from that year on to 1878, a number came in to make homes for themselves. Among the number may be here mentioned George Cilley, in the north part. Rufus Clark settled in the northern part in 1879-80. He finally removed to Wyoming territory. William Foster came in 1873 and bought land near the plat of Westfield, of his brother. He sold in the fall of 1888 and removed.

Westfield Village was platted in August, 1877, on sections twenty six and twenty seven. At an early day an attempt had been made to get the county seat located there instead of at Melbourne, in Plymouth township - the center of the county. This idea was abandoned, however, in 1860.

The first goods were sold at this point in 1877, when Thomas Trendle opened a general store and was appointed the first postmaster in the newly established postoffice of Westfield. In the spring of 1886 a general store was opened by Luke Wheeler and wife. The wife of Mr. Wheeler was appointed postmistress to succeed Trendle, and still keeps the office. In the spring of 1888 William Chapman put in a general stock of goods and is still in trade. The first and present blacksmith is a man named Plutz. The first school in the township was held at Westfield in 1878.

While this place is a station on the line of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul road, yet it has never been noted as a great trading point. Akron and Elk Point, on the Dakota side of the Big Sioux river are each within a few miles, and there is no room, as yet, for three good sized towns.

Schools and Churches. - Considering the light settlement of this township, it supports schools quite well. In 1890 there were four sub-districts, each having a good school building. The enrollment of pupils, in 1889 was ninety. No township in the entire county has so great a number of shade trees as Westfield, which township, official reports show, has 450.

While there are no flourishing religious societies within her borders, there are a good many Christian men and women. Services are held by the Methodist, Congregational and Advent denominations, at the various school buildings, chiefly at the one located at the village of Westfield.

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