History of Douglas Township, Sac County, IA
From: History of Sac County, Iowa
By: William H. Hart
B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1914


Douglas township is in the extreme northeastern corner of Sac county and comprises all of congressional township 89, range 35 west, and is along the "correction" line of Iowa, with Buena Vista county at its north. Calhoun county to the east, Cedar and Jackson townships at the south and Delaware on the west. It contains thirty six full sections. It was named in honor of that great Democratic statesman who was a candidate for President against the lamented Lincoln, in 1861 - Hon. Stephen A. Douglas.

Coon river flows to the south, meandering through sections 30 and 31, while small streams' are found here and there over the prairie land of the township.

The population of Douglas township in 1910, according to the United States census reports, was five hundred and fifty eight.

The schools and churches are named at length in general chapters in this volume.

The first settlement was effected along the river, as was the case in all new counties in the West. There are no towns or villages within the borders of Douglas township. At first Douglas was cut off from Jackson township in 186o, and at that date Douglas ran to the west line of the county and was one of three townships in Sac county, each being twenty four miles long. In 1875 Delaware township was created, leaving Douglas as it is now bounded, only six miles square.

The settlers in 1855 and 1856 in what is now known as Douglas township were as follows: Martin Deardorf, who claimed land directly west from the M. S. Lee farm, on the river. He soon tired of the country and sold to George Stocker for five hundred dollars, and moved to Kansas. Mr. Stocker arrived in June, 1856, from Steuben county, Indiana. He did not remain after purchasing this claim, but went east and did not return until 1867, accompanied by his family. A son and his family are still residing in Sac City.

William Montgomery and a sister came in x856 and claimed land just south of the first settlement, the same also being on the rive, in the timber. He was the first man married in the county, an account of which is given elsewhere in this work.

Another settler in 1855 was Adam Vetal, who claimed the land now included in the Lee farm, at the grove called "Lee's Grove." His brother, William Vestal, also came at the same time. He went to California in 861 and Adam moved to Illinois.

The next to effect a settlement in the township, as now bounded, was Robert Quail, who took up land just to the south of the Lee place, probably in 1855, certainly not later than 1856. He claimed a quarter section. Later he moved to Missouri, where he died many years since.

It should be stated that the old Lee place was originally pre-empted by Seymour Wagoner, who bought it for speculation and never became an actual settler there.

On the south, still farther down the river, was the settlement of William Wine, in 1855. He remained several years and moved on to California in Civil War days. He was the grandfather of Lacy Wine, now a merchant in Sac City. He had a large family, and immigrated from Indiana, claiming a quarter section of land here. It is now owned by W. B. Wayt and son, of Sac City.

About the close of the war came in William McDeid, Trowbridge Roundsville, now living in Sac City, but still holding his splendid farm in Douglas township. His brother, Sylvester, came also. James Gordon was another about that date to claim land in the township. The Gordon school house was the second one in the township, the first being the frame house erected at Lee's Grove, by James Davis. Many of the men who came in just after the war were returned soldiers.

The first cemetery, or country burying place, was on section 15. Later most of the bodies were removed to other cemeteries.

Sac City was the first trading place for this settlement. Grant City, then "Big Grove," also had some facilities in that line, including a corn grinding mill, if such it might have been called. It was to this mill that many of the settlers in Sac City and those further up the river had to go in the dead of that memorable winter of 1856-57, with a sack or more of shelled corn, tied onto a long hand sled, and in this manner obtained the use of a huge coffee mill at Grant City, and thus stayed up all night, each taking his turn at grinding by hand a little corn meal upon which the Cory and other families managed to get through until spring came. Coons were then killed for the rich fat they contained, and with this "coon grease" the good housewife would grease the griddle and fry the johnnycakes, over the brightly glowing fire place.

The first settlers were mostly all Americans, but after the war there came in a goodly number of thrifty German families.

Rush lake, on section 9; was a noted early day swamp and lake, but, thanks to modern drainage and tiling methods, it has all been reclaimed and here one finds the best of crops growing annually. One of the big dredge ditches of Sac county runs through the bed of this old lake.

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