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

LAKEPORT TOWNSHIP stands fifth in the order of creation, and was constituted June 3, 1867, ten years after the division of the county, in 1857, into four townships. The fact of the four divisions remaining intact for so long a time, shows how slowly the county settled up at that period; but during that ten years the Civil war raged, and people had no time to think about changing their homes in the middle or eastern states for a doubtful betterment of their condition in the northwest, especially as the Indians, becoming cognizant of the fight Uncle Sam had on his hands, had grown exceedingly bold.

The order setting apart a portion of Woodbury township, as passed by the supervisors, bounds and describes the new township, as follows: "All of townships eighty six and eighty seven, ranges forty seven and forty eight, and the fractional townships west of said townships eighty six and eighty seven, ranges forty seven and forty eight, and also township eighty six, range forty six." An election was ordered, which took place October 8, 1867, when the following officers were elected:

Supervisor-Rufus Beall.
Justices of the peace-Joseph Greville, Hurlbütt Brower.
Township clerk-James Allen.
Assessor-John W. Mather.
Constable-Robert Brower.
The judges of this first election were H. Brower,W. D. Brassfield, Jacob Van Order.
Clerks-J. Greville, J. Allen.

Lakeport is bounded on the north by Liberty township, on the south by Monona county, on the east by Sloan township, and on the west and southwest by the Missouri river, and its soil is entirely Missouri river bottom land, than which there is none better on the green earth. The soil is wonderfully productive, and one would needs go to the tropics to witness more luxuriance of growth than is seen on these bottom lands, and they are practically inexhaustible. Mr. Theophile Bruguier informed the writer hereof, pointing from his portico to an immense field of growing corn, that he had put that field in corn for the past twenty four years successively. When Lakeport was first settled there was considerable excellent timber, but the two saw mills in the township, one belonging to John Nairn and the other to Mr. Glower, have sawed the most of it into lumber. A great deal of care is now taken with the young trees, thousands of which are to be found growing where the older ones have been cut, and it will not be many years until there will again be fine timber in the western portion of the township. A singular condition exists in Lakeport in the matter of running streams of water, for, notwithstanding that the Missouri washes nearly half of the boundaries of it, and there is in its central portion what is known as Sand Hill lake, yet there is no stream that is entitled to be called such. The lake mentioned is a singular formation. It is about six miles from head to foot, and resembles a monster snake lying in a curved position, representing a rude crescent. It evidently was at one time the bed of the Missouri river, or a large bayou, as each of its ends are very near the stream mentioned. It contains no water, or at least not enough to call it a lake, and the name given to it arises from the fact that its banks are ridges of sand, which are elevated above the surrounding soil. The scenery of this township is peculiar. The landscape presented to the eye is striking. One stands in the midst of miles of land as flat as a floor, not the rolling prairie type that is seen almost everywhere in Iowa, but simply a level stretch, except along a narrow portion that skirts the Missouri. To the westward, however, the eye is relieved by the Nebraska bluffs, for along this portion of the county the bluffs leave the Iowa side. The impression left, and the fact is doubtless true, as the geologists state, is that this whole river bottom was at some time, and not many hundreds of years ago, either, the Missouri river. The present stream is simply what is left of the mighty torrent that once rolled its surging waters from north to south, now subsistent against the bluffs indicated above. Wild fruit and game of all kinds were plentiful, and tons of honey were to be found in the forest trees. Up to the arrival of the early settlers, less than forty years ago, herds of buffalo and elk grazed on these rich lands of what is now Lakeport.

As examples of what can be done with a soil so rich as this township has, the farms, or rather plantations, of Theophile Bruguier, the Eveleths, John Nairn and J. C. Currier, may be mentioned. The latter gentleman only moved onto his present place in the upper part of the township about twelve years ago, and in that time he has created a farm which, for variety of productions and exuberance of growth, can not be excelled anywhere. The wonderful fullness of the trees and bushes of the smaller fruits and berries, and the height and closeness of timothy and other grasses, is almost beyond belief. Mr. Bruguier, whom everybody knows in the northwest, although not one of the first settlers of Lakeport, having first settled up at the mouth of the Big Sioux river, is entitled to the distinction of being the old settler, pre-eminently. John Nairn, William Benner, the Eveleths, and some others, were here quite early. From the lips of the old Canadian-Frenchman the writer hereof obtained some interesting facts.

Theophile Bruguier (and this is the proper way to spell his name, for he so spells it himself, everybody else always spelling it, court officials and all, some other way) was born in La Assumption, below Montreal, Canada, in 1813. He grew up to be a stout lad, hardy and daring, not knowing the meaning of fear, and with that spirit of adventure which seems to have always dominated the French-Canadians, and which produced those heroic characters known as voyaguers. Having the training of a hunter, trapper and woodsman in his native country, young Bruguier at the age of twenty two left his home on October 14, 1835, and arrived in St. Louis some weeks thereafter. The headquarters of the American Fur Company was located at St. Louis., M. Choteau and some of the other Frenchmen representing the company, residing in that city. Bruguier entered the service of that company, and left for the Indian country November 19, 1835. He and some companions started on horseback, and after a long and tedious ride arrived at Fort Pierre on January 1, 1836. They followed the Missouri river along the most of their route from St. Louis to the upper country, and in passing along the bluffs on the Nebraska side, Bruguier noticed the fine bottom lands where he now resides. He passed along those bluffs thirty five times, and in 1839 he camped on the very farm where he now lives, picking it out for future entry, which desire he was gratified in, as he pre-empted it as soon as the land came into market, although he was living in the upper portion of the county. He moved to where he now lives, in the upper portion of Lakeport township, in 1879. He landed at the mouth of the Big Sioux river May 13, 1849, about six months after Thompson came, as shown in another chapter of this work. As a sample of the perfectly fearless character of Mr. Bruguier, an incident is related of him by others who have known his character in days gone by. He does not tell this himself, and is as modest about his personal exploits as it is possible for any man to be. If he would only relate some of the adventures he has had during a life of nearly fifteen years among the Indians of the northwest, fifty years ago, it would make a book as interesting as any ever penned by a Du Challieu or a Stanley. Before 1840, Bruguier was landed at a point on the upper Missouri for the purpose of making his way across the country to the Fur Company's camp, and almost as soon as he landed he was surrounded by a number of Indians, who, thinking to have a little fun at his expense, commenced to howl at him and prod him with arrows, but they had as yet not learned the character of Theophile Bruguier. He whaled away with the butt of his gun and stretched out one of the red skins (some say he never got up again). He then stepped back and told the balance (for he could talk Indian) that if they molested him again he would kill the whole party. There is nothing that the fighting son of the forest respects so much as courage; so they shook hands with the dauntless young trapper, made him a Sioux warrior, and were always such friends that he could go alone anywhere in the northwest. He took to wife in Indian fashion, two of the daughters of the famous Sioux chief, War Eagle, and lived with them in this country, they dying respectively in 1857 and 1858. He had several handsome children by these wives, and two of the boys were educated at Ann Arbor and St. Louis. One of the boys, after being highly educated, went up among the Sioux tribe, the wild instinct implanted by nature's immutable fiat cropping out, no matter what the circumstances be. M. Bruguier married again, a Canadian woman, and the old couple are now living very pleasantly at their home in Lakeport. A. young man named Clark lived with Bruguier on the Big Sioux, who fell in love with a half breed girl, and as she did not reciprocate his affection for her, he went off and did what Koko in the opera of the Mikado describes the tom tit as having done, drowned himself, through disappointed love.

Mr. William B. Holman, of Sergeant's Bluff, in speaking of the plentifulness of honey in the olden time, related that he saw at the home of William Benner, in Lakeport, over a ton of honey, and that Benner had twenty two trees more to cut.

A creamery on a modest scale, was started during the present year in the township about one and three fourths miles south of Salix.

A cemetery was laid off a few years ago by Mr. J. C. Currier, south of his residence, which is almost surrounded by beautiful trees. There are fine schools in the township, but no church, village or postoffice, the towns of Salix in Liberty and Sloan in Sloan township, providing for the necessities in those regards.


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