History of Cass Township Wapello County, IA
From: History of Wapello County, Iowa
By Harrison L. Waterma, Supervising Editor
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chicago 1914


Cass Township is composed of sections 6, 7, 8, and that part of sections 5 and 9 west of the Des Moines River, in township 72, range 14; also that part of section 31, west of the river, in township 73, range 14; also sections I, 2, 3 and 4 in township 72, range 15; and sections 34, 35, 36 and the westerly parts of sections 23, 25 and 26 in township 73, range 15. The township is very irregular in shape and covers but a small territory, as indicated by the above description. Polk and Center townships are to the south of Cass. Running diagonally from north to south is the Des Moines River, which is also its eastern boundary. On the west are parts of Columbia and Polk townships. The land, which is gently rolling prairie, is drained by the river and North and Little Avery creeks. There are considerable coal and limestone in this neighborhood.

The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad crosses the river and enters the township on section 9. Following this stream, it makes it exit at the northwest corner of section 34. The Rock Island runs along the eastern border of the township, but does not enter it. The township was organized April 6, 1851, and the first election was held at Chillicothe.

In early days before the civil townships were organized a large number of settlers chose the western part of the county for their new homes. Among them may be mentioned Joseph Gardner, Moses Baker, Frank Bates, James Sales, Abram Butin, Samuel Webb, Bird Pritchett, Noah Dofflemeyer, Lewis Myers, George F. Nye, L. L. Denny, L. Stump, Samuel Bush, John Cavanaugh, William Black, Abraham Stuber, William A. Nye and A. J. Wicker.

G. F. Myers settled in this county in 1844. He lived for many years in Cass Township, where he served as justice of the peace over twenty years.

B. G. Sayers settled in Wapello County in 1844 and applied his energies to his trade of carpentry. He was a veteran of the Civil war.

William A. Nye was born in Germany in 1824 and immigrated to the United States with his parents when eight years of age. In 1845 Mr. Nye came to Iowa and settled in this township, where he farmed for some years. Two years were spent in Ottumwa, while Mr. Nye served the county as treasurer. A son, George L. Nye, was born in a log cabin on the old homestead in 1845, soon after the arrival of his parents. He grew to manhood, served his country in the Civil war, lived on the farm in Cass until 1869, and then moved to Agency. For many years he has been postmaster at Agency City. William A. Nye was ordained a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1861.

Abraham Stuber and his brave wife, Mary, were among the first settlers in Wapello County. Mr. Stuber was a German immigrant, coming to the United States in 1837. After several removals be located in this township, upon a claim of 160 acres, lying two miles southwest of Chillicothe. The farm was under the management of Mr. Stuber until his death, which took place in 1849.

R. M. Gibbs settled in Cass Township in 1847. He was elected justice of the peace and held other offices of the township.

Lawrence Guggerty left Ireland in 1849 and in 1859 settled on a farm in Cass Township. During the war Mr. Guggerty bought horses and mules for the Federal Government, and in 1863 located on section 31, in this township. He was quite progressive and, it is said, built the first house in Eldon.

Samuel P. Heacock came to Cass Township in 185r and acquired a farm. In 1868 he began operating the mill at Chillicothe.

Paul Arnold settled here in 1852 and acquired a considerable body of land.

Dr. L. Campbell, a native of Ohio, settled in the township in 1854. David Cook was here as a resident in 1853.

Samuel Buchanan was a South Carolinian by birth and spent his boyhood in Indiana. After his marriage he came to Wapello County in 1855 and located in Cass Township, where he rented a farm and coal bank. Later, Mr. Buchanan bought a farm in Keokuk Township and made his residence there until his death, which occurred in 1898.

George D. White, who made a specialty of thoroughbred cattle, settled in Cass Township in 1854. He was counted as an industrious, successful and valued citizen.

John M. Swope became a citizen of Cass Township in 1856 and held several local offices.

What was known as the Jack Oak schoolhouse was built soon after a number of the pioneers had established homes. Its character was of the traditional log cabin kind. It was 18 x 18 feet and located in the eastern part of the township. The first teacher was said to he a man by the name of S. P. Gilland. Among his pupils were children of Silas Warren, Philip Hartley, Thomas Johnson, Samuel Bush, Jackson Gilland, William Clark and others.


Chillicothe is located on section 36 and is a station on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. The village was laid out by A. J. Wicker and platted in 1849. Rev. A. J. Pierce, a Methodist minister, erected the first house in the place. This region was a part of the White Breast Mission, which extended from Knoxville to a point opposite Ottumwa on the west shore of the Des Moines River, hence the early presence of a clergyman belonging to the Methodist Society. A log church 18 x 20 feet was erected by the Methodists in 1849, and Rev. James F. New was the first pastor. Previous to this the society held its meetings in the members' homes. Revs. William W. Knight and M. H. Hare were among the early ministers here.

Peter Young was the first merchant. He opened a store in a building 10x12 feet, and stocked it with a line of goods to meet the immediate needs of the settlers.

Rev. W. A. Nye, who was a local Methodist preacher, and a pioneer of the township, was the second person to engage in merchandising here, taking into partnership a son and running the business under the firm name of W. A. Nye & Son. Soon a blacksmith shop and a wagon shop were in operation.

By 1865 the town had a grist mill, which was owned and operated by J. G. and S. P. Heacock. The mill had a capacity of 300 bushels a day. It was not long after this that J. M. Hull put up a sawmill in the village.

Chillicothe was incorporated December 20, 181, and at that time had 234 inhabitants. The census of 1910 gives the population as 181. Its general stores and shops have considerable trade, however, from a territory containing many fine and productive farms. Its school is of a high order and the Methodist Church is well attended by a peaceful and law abiding people.


Chillicothe Lodge, No. 115, I. O. O. F., was instituted December 15, 1857, and received its charter October 14, 1858. The charter members were: J. J. Ellison, A. F. Durant, J. H. Griffith, N. W. Dowd, G. W. Dickson, D. Renshaw and F. M. Henderson. The first officers were: D. Henshaw, N. G.; N. W. Dowd, V. G. G. W. Dickson, secretary; J. H. Griffith, treasurer.

About 1870 a lodge of the Sons of Temperance was organized but was short lived. The Good Templars then organized a lodge known as Chillicothe Lodge, No. 605, but it also was of short duration.


The postoffice was established here July 20, 1849, with Andrew J. Wicker as the first postmaster. The names of his successors follow: Peter Young, September 20, 1850; Asa C. Olney, September 19, 1853; Nimrod Poston, May 3, 1858; A. J. Wicker, August 15, 1861; J. J. Ellison, May 4, 1864; James G. Renshaw, September 14, 1870; Samuel P. Heacock, October 3, 1871; Miss Leonora L. Johnston, April 14, 1873; S. P. Heacock, June 2, 1873; F. M. Bush, July 1, 1873; Aaron Byram, May 27, 1886; David Ray, September 22, 1886; J. A. Pinegar, March 7, 1890; Joseph S. Layne, December 28, 1893; J. A. Pinegar, November 16, 1897; A. E. Bellman, December 21, 1901; J. A. Sweeney, February 7, 1907; C. W. Peterson, March 31, 1911; Oscar W. Hasseirooth, March 1, 1913.


The Chillicothe Savings Bank began business under the state laws in 1907. Samuel Mahon is the president; W. H. Bennett, vice president; G. E. Jenkins, cashier. The capital stock is $10,000; surplus, $3,000; and deposits, $55,000.

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