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


On the southern line of the county, and second from the eastern line, is the civil township of Viola, bounded on its north by Wall Lake township, (16) on the east by Sac township, on the south by Carroll county, and on the west by Levey township. it comprises all of congressional township 86, range 36 west, hence is six miles square. The only town within its borders is Carnarvon in section 22, which is a junction point of the Tama and Carroll branches of the Northwestern system. The Illinois Central line, from Omaha to Fort Dodge, runs through this township, following the central tier of sections from east to west. A small portion of the town of Wall Lake is within Viola township, as well as a small portion of Wall lake itself, the most of this pretty sheet of water, however, being confined to the limits of Wall Lake township. This subdivision of Sac county has its full share of railroads. The Northwestern system has three distinct branches in the township, with stations at Carnarvon and Wall Lake, and an overhead crossing with the Illinois Central and Northwestern on section 15. There are many Germans in Viola township, and, for the most part, they are all prosperous, well educated and industrious farmers. The township has no timber except that planted and cultivated by the pioneers. There are three small creeks within its borders. Some of the land is rather low, but has mostly been reclaimed by ditching and tile drains. Corn is the chief crop.

Most all the first settlers have either removed from the county or died. Some are retired at the county seat and at Wall Lake and Lake View towns. Just what dates and the exact section on which these pioneers settled cannot now be well determined, but from an interview had recently with such men as J. W. Higgins and F. C. Jacobs, it is learned that the first settlement of this township was made by the following persons, with perhaps a few more, who might have been as early, or earlier, than some of these here named. Mr. Higgins came in 1887, but had lived at Wall Lake four years previous to that. He was a soldier in the Civil War, and was from Montgomery county, New York. He has accumulated considerable property. and has recently purchased much more in Clay county, this state. He has been one of the trustees of this township for a number of years. Mr. Jacobs, above mentioned. was born in Germany, but came here when young, and has taught school and been township assessor here a number of terms. He is well informed and is really what may be termed a scientific farmer, making a thorough study of the soils and of every grade of stock he handles. He loves to look in upon nature at every possible window, and glean that which may be of benefit to a progressive agriculturist. He raises thirty per cent. more per acre than his common farmer neighbors, all on account of his studying the conditions of soil and climate. He came in about twenty years ago and has seen great changes since engaging in farm life here.

When pioneer Higgins came to the township he found here such men as Garrett Fischer, August Hanke, Patrick Quinn, Patrick Halpin, Robert Westcott, Joseph Parkinson, of section 2, who was among the very first. Also there were Henry Peters, John Spurrell, an Englishmen, who still resides in the county, and has a son who is taking much care to study well the country in which he lives. This family located on section 6. John Spurrell was a trustee of Viola township for twenty five years. Another pioneer was an old Mr. Hanker, and others were Leo Fix, Charles Frank, John Gateman, all very early, probably in the early seventies. Leander McCrea located where now stands the village of Caernarfon, and remained there until 1885; Charles Teeple, now deceased, was two miles north and a half mile to the east of Carnarvon. Early in the eighties came in Herman and Frederick Voss, brothers. They were among the first to make permanent improvements, a mile or so east of Carnarvon, where they had three hundred and twenty acres of land. Both are long since deceased. Peter Rossman also had a half section on the south line of the township. He is deceased. "Tip" Dewey, now of Wall Lake town, owned a half section in the northwestern part of the township, and still owns the land. Michael Martin, deceased, settled very early in the northwestern part. Thomas Vaddicor came in among the earliest settlers, in the seventies, and bought land in the north half of the township; he was a soldier in the Two Hundred and Second New York Regiment, and he died about 1908; his son, James Waddicor, now owns the old homestead farm, but resides in Schaller. Moses Lacy was here before 1886 in the northeast quarter of the townships, but he now resides near Ames, Iowa. Another was George Van Dresser, who settled in the township at an early date on section I; he went to Missouri about 1890. Jonas Walrod, in the northwestern part of this township, improved one of the early farms and later died and the land is now in the hands of strangers to the family. His son is a veterinary surgeon in Carnarvon at this date. Brunas Swartscup located in the south part of the township, as did his brother. John Preffer settled about the same time in the western portion, on section 7, where he lived until a few years ago, went South, returned and finally died. Theodore Kliskie arrived in the township about 1875, locating near Wall Lake. Henry Hoft came in and purchased land in the southwest portion. He now lives at Wall Lake; he was a soldier with one of the Iowa regiments. His son now resides on the old Viola township homestead. Before 1886 came Jacob Ackerman, who located in the southeastern part of the township. The large Irish family of McCormicks settled in this township among the pioneers of early date; sons of this family were Thomas, Peter and John. A. M. Robison. a Massachusetts Yankee. settled in the west half of the township early in the eighties. David Low settled in the southwestern portion, and now resides at Wall Lake, but still owns his land in Viola. Ellis Barthema was in the north part of the township before Mr. Higgins' arrival in 1887. He went to Texas, lost his property, including his excellent two hundred and forty acre tract in this township. After this the settlement was too rapid to trace out the comings and goings.

Viola township was organized as a separate township in 1875, and derived its name from a town by that name in Illinois. Its present trustees are J. W. Higgins, Michael Rising and Ernest Walrod; its assessor is Louis Wilcox. Its population in 1010 was nine hundred and twenty nine.


This, the only distinct platted village in Viola township, was laid out by George W. Pitcher, in section 22, township 86, range 36, on October 24, 1881. Its present population is about one hundred and fifty. It is a junction point of the Chicago & Northwestern railroad, where the Carroll branch leaves the Tama branch, and is something over four miles south and east from the town of Wall Lake. The first attempt at business here was the year the platting was effected, and it was a general merchandise store opened by Fishback & Pitcher, later owned solely by Mr. Pitcher, who also bought grain and had the first shipping facilities. In scanning the newspaper files the author finds that in December, 1888, the Sac Sun said of Carnarvon: "The new town in Viola township, Caernarfon, is getting to be quite a berg. A good number of buildings are already up and enclosed and still more will be completed the coming winter. Mr. Pitcher, the leading man of the place, is using every effort to build up and make it a good town."

The postmasters of Carnarvon have been in the following order: Robert Vestgarth. Louis Hunefeld, J. J. Fishback, Harvey Daily, Mr. and Mrs. G. M. Seaman, who, between them, have had the office for the last ten years.

The business interests of Carnarvon, in the spring of 1914, were in the hands of the following persons:
General Dealers - Benson & Company.
Hardware and Lumber - Farmers' Lumber Company, of Fort Dodge.
Elevator and Live Stock - A. J. Graham. Garage - The Parson Auto Company.
Hotel - G. M. Seaman.
Blacksmithing - Joseph Reutter.
Cream Station - W. A. Seaman.
Veterinary Surgeon - Doctor Wairod. Barber - A. E. Mason.
Pool Hall - A. E. Mason.

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