History of Townships in Dickinson County, IA
From: History of Emmit County and
Dickinson County, Iowa.
The Pioneer Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois 1917

[ Also see the City of Spirit Lake on a seperate page. ]


When the county of Dickinson was organized in the year 1857 there were no township divisions formed and no township officers elected. Two years later, in 1859, the county was divided into two civil townships - Spirit Lake and Okoboji. The bridge at the straits between East and West Okoboji Lakes was the dividing line.

In 1860 the township of East Okoboji was organized, and afterwards given the name of Tusculum.

In 1866 Center Grove and Lakeville Townships were formed and new boundaries created for all.

At a meeting of the board of supervisors September 28, 1872, new townships were formed and new boundaries drawn as follows: Superior Township to embrace the whole of Town 100, Range 35; Town 98, Range 36 to contain one civil township named Milford; Lloyd and Richland Townships to remain the same; Town 99, Range 36, and that portion of Town Range 37 lying east of West Okoboji Lake to be Center Grove; Town Range 36, to be Spirit Lake Township; Town 98, Range 37 to be Okoboji Township; Town 99, Range 37, except that part east of West Okoboji Lake, to be Lakeville Township; Town 100, Range 37, to be Diamond Lake Township; Towns 98 and 99, Range 38, to be Excelsior Township; Silver Lake to remain as before. The first election in Milford was ordered to be held at the house of A. D. Inman; the first in Okoboji at the residence of Hiram Davis; the first in Excelsior to be held at the house of C. E. Smith; and in the remaining townships the elections to be held at the places previously designated. The records of the townships prior to this time were lost in the fire of 1871.

At the supervisors' meeting on September 6, 1875, Town 98, Range 33, then a part of Excelsior Township, was set off into a new civil township by the name of Westport, and the first election was ordered held at the schoolhouse near Randall Root's residence.


The tax list of Spirit Lake Township in 1859 records the following names of persons living in the township and paying taxes that year: W. J. Adams, Benjamin Adams, Harvey Abbott, A. D. Arthur, W. B. Brown, Henry Barkman, William Barkman, F. A. Blake, James Ball, M. A. Blanchard, J. M. Blanchard, Dan Caldwell, J. A. Cook, William Carsley, Leonidas Congleton, William Donaldson, S. W. Foreman, H. Frantz, Lawrence Ferhen, J. P. Gilbert, C. F. Hill, S. Humphrey, J. D. Howe, J. D. Hawkins, Isaac H. Jones, R. Kingman, A. Kingman, William Lamont, David Maxwell, Frank Moore, W. D. Moore, William Miller, F. Palpuman, Jareb Palmer, Ebenezer Palmer, J. S. Prescott, James Peters, B. F. Parmenter, Charles Richards, George Ring, F. S. Robb, George Rogers, R. A. Smith, M. J. Smith, John Smith, William C. Swett, George E. Spencer, L. E. Strait, J. H. Schuneman, H. E. W. Smeltser and R. U. Wheelock. By 1860 the following names were added to the foregoing list: H. D. Arthur, Walter B. Brown, Charles Carpenter, Phillip Doughty, William T. Doughty, William Jordan, John Johnson, Hans Johnson, Peter Ladu and Norton Warner.

The list above will give the reader a clear idea of the names of the first settlers in Spirit bake Township, which embraced at the time one half of the county. The early history of the settlement has been described in the chapter on early settlement of the county, and further description here would be only repetition.


This division of the county at first comprised one half of the county, the other half being Spirit Lake Township. The tax list of 1859 gives the following names of the then residents: B. Adams, G. H. Bush, Levi Daugherty, George Detrick, L. Morse, Moses Miller, William Oldham, Joseph Pasti, J. S. Prescott, It. Perigo, P. H. Risling, William E. Root, F. Webster, Philander Webster, Martin Webster, A. Wagoner, William Wisegarber, G. Mattison, A. Olson, M. P. and J. M. Webster. Prominent among the settlers prior to 1870 were: Levi Knowlton, C. A. Arnold, J. B. Florer, D. T. Janes, William Patten, John Matthesen, Halvor Knutsen, Samuel Waller, Thomas Barcus, Homer Calkins, Ed Miller and L. F. Griswold. The township was named by R. A. Smith. Like Spirit Lake Township the early settlement has been noted elsewhere.


Under the heading of Tusculurn Township, or East Okoboji Township, appear the names of the following taxpayers: H. D. Arthur, William Barr, C. Crandall, O. Compton, Arthur Dodge, Nathan Esty, John Francis, John Gilbert, Allen Gould, James Johnston, William Jenkins, William G. Jenkins, John Jenkins, P. Ladu, John Loomis, J. T. Loomis, William C. McClellan, B. Marvin, James Pollard, F. D. Reilly, C. Reid, L. A. Stimpson, Seth Thomas, C. Thurston, William Uptagrafft, C. Warner, Consider Yarns.


The original taxpayers in Center Grove Township, as it was first formed, were: W. B. Brown, G. C. Bellows, G. Blackheart, H. Barkman, F. A. Blake, G. Clark, O. Crandall, H. Crandall, O. Compton, F. Doughty, Aaron Dixon, Jesse Doughty, Phillip Doughty, James Evans, N. O. Eastman, E. C. Ellis, A. B. Ellis, C. Evans, Elihu Ellis, E. D. Howell, David Jenkins, G. H. Johnson, George Kellogg, G. Kingsley, E. C. Lowell, J. B. Mack, A. A. Mosher, A. S. Mead, H. C. Owen, E. Palmer, A. E. Peck, Samuel Rogers, John Robertson, O. Rice, M. J. Smith, G. W. Sherman, John Strong, James Skirving, R. A. Smith, J. A. Van Ada, T. Wyckoff and L. W. Waugh.


The first settlement in what is now Lakeville Township was made about 1866, when a party consisting of Joshua A. Pratt, George W. Pratt, Joseph A. Green, A. Price and others came in, and located at Lakeville, at the site of the three lakes - Pratt, Silvan and Pillsbury. The tax list of 1871 for Lakeville Township gives the names of the following residents: John Atwood, W. B. Arnold, C. L. Aldiñ, J. S. Anderson, G. Anderson, W. H. Anderson, Charles Betts, S. B. Betts, W. A. Blair, J. M. Brown, Ole Bjornson, T. N. Boyle, J. H. Beebe, W. Berg, F. Brown, Daniel Bennett, H. J. Bennett, J. H. Carpenter, J. A. Casey, J. Covington, Richard Campbell, Samuel Campbell, Harrison Campbell, S. M. Fairchild, Joseph Garrett, Alfred Goss, James Grant, William Gerhart, Foster Gerhart, J. A. Green, E. F. Hill, Oscar Hooker, G. W. Heard, J. W. Hopkins, James Heidridge, Samuel Hutchinson, Nathan R. Jones, David Kenn, R. P. Kingman, James Kilpatrick, John Kilpatrick, William F. Lewis, William S. Leggett, John Lawler, F. M. Lawton, A. R. Lawton, J. J. Mosher, G. S. Myers, S. P. Middleton. H. J. and Daniel Bennett and Rev. Samuel Pillsbury came to the Lakeville settlement in the year 1868. A postoffice was established at the site and kept for several years by H. J. Bennett. H. J. Bennett and J, Heldridge suggested the name for the township.


It is said that the name of this township was given by W. B. Flatt and recognized by the trustees. Some of the first settlers in the township were: E. V. Davis, William Campbell, W. B. Flatt, J. C. Davis, Randolph Freeman, David Farnham, G. W. and H. N. Morse, Gid Mott, Jacob Groce, N. J. Woodin, F. N. Snow, G. Patterson, Aaron Shultz and Simon Young. Most of these settlers, however, did not remain here permanently. The grasshopper raid demoralized the settlement. The tax list of 1873 for this township gives the names of: R. R. Andrus, William Campbell, W. A. Davis, Walter Flatt, R. Freeman, D. Farnham, Jacob and John Groce, Joseph Howell, Gid Mott, Henry Morse, Wark Morse, W. A. Morse, G. W. Morse, G. Patterson, William Patterson, Aaron Shultz, Lucian Stewart, F. N. Snow, N. J. Woodin, William Young, Thomas J. Stone and David Kinkade. Much swamp land is listed in this township in the early '70s.


This township was named in honor of John Lloyd, one of the first settlers within its boundaries. The first settlement was made in 1869, the first corners being: John B. Smith, John Lloyd, John Wilkinson, Ole Gilbertson, Joseph Kinney, A. G. Saxe, J. Johnson, Berg Bergeson, J. S. Bingham, R. R. Haugen, A. Dodge, G. S. Randall, M. Chappell. The majority of the settlers in this township were Norwegians. The tax payers in the early '70s were: Jull Arneson, B. Bergeson, E. Brenmon, Asa Benedict, J. L. Bingham, H. N. Chappell, M. B. Chappell, George Danford, Paul Doffenson, Erick Ellingson, Benjamin Felt, H. W. Foster, Tollif Fode, Joseph Gallop, Ole Gilbertson, Egbert P. Haugen, John Jarvis, Jacob Johnson, Tollif Knudson, Joseph Kenney, Charles Knowlton, John Lloyd, Peder Oleson, R. Oskatabo, Lars Oleson, Gulick Oleson, Ole askatabo, Iver Oleson, John Peterson, William Randall, George Randall, W. T. Smith, John B. Smith, David C. Shepherd, K. T. Sandesson, Henry Schambaum, Frank Truhn, Peder Thompson, Peter Uldnekson, John Wilkinson, B. Whitcome.


The first settlements in Diamond Lake Township occurred in 1869 and 1870. Among the first settlers were: M. W. Lemmon, P. P. Pierce, P. Nelson, A. J. Welch, O. W. Savage, O. Sanford, Peter Vick, J. R., J. T. and H. Tuttle, L. H. and William Vreeland, G. Horn, S. W. Harris. Most of these settlers left during the time of the grasshopper raids upon this county. Lemmon, the Vreelands, Horns, Vick, Welch and several others stayed through the attack.

The tax list of 1873 for Diamond Lake Township shows the following land holders here: A. W. Allen, Ole Bjornson, W. Burg, John Erickson, William Ellsworth, Andrew Erickson, H. Gabijell, G. W. Harris, W. W. Lemmon, Peter Nelson, Otis Sanford, O. W. Savage, Joseph Stevens, Charles Swineson, the Tuttles, G. Vreeland, William Vreeland, Warren Wilcox, A. J. Welch, Ed Miller, F. M. Lawton, A. R. Lawton, G. F. Griswold, Aaron Daniels, Robert Carter, H. F. Lawton, Thomas West, E. M. Denison, J. D. Dammon, Osker Hoakes, R. P. Kingman, E. F. Hill, John Pierce, Benjamin Grover, John Atwood, Peter Nelson, B. H. Hallett, David Kern, Pit P. Pierce, Benjamin Strickler, J. H. Miller, George Myers, E. T. Graham, Wicks Willard, J. F. Carrington, Ruben Tivey, Hiram Smith, A. C. French, Christ Walter, J. F. Dore, Daniel Daniels, John P. Herman, Oliver Swartz, M. H. Tappin, James Sherman, F. S. Horn, W. A. Richards, John Webster. The name of Diamond Lake was given to the township by the first settlers within its borders.


The first settlement in Superior Township was made in 1867 by Robert McCulla and his sons. McCulla had the distinction of having twenty three living children at one time. Others who came shortly after McCulla were: Oscar Norby, R. S. Hopkins, Gilbert Anderson, Alfred Davis, M. and C. Reiter, Fred Jacobs and John Morgan, also the Everett family. R. S. Hopkins is given credit for naming the township.

The tax list of 1871 for Superior Township is as follows: James Braden, Arnold Davis, George Davis, Alfred Davis, K. Fisher, John Lambert, Jacob Lamb, Robert McCulla, William McCulla, Abraham McCulla, James McCanna, Oscar Norby, Solomon Nichols, P. Olson, Even Pederson, Sever Severson, John Tolefson, John Wilson, Nich Siebold, Thomas J. Stone, S. H. McKnight, Alex McKay, E. K. Olson, John and James Cussey, Lawrence Stone.


The first settlement made in Silver Lake Township was by George Nicholson in August, 1868. He homesteaded his claim here. His coming was for this purpose - that of getting his claim in shape, and then he returned to the East for his family, returning in the late fall. Andrew Cloud came with him and also entered a claim, which he disposed of a year later to C. B. Knox. John Dingwall and James Acheson were other settlers of the year and were followed in 1870 by Alexander Robertson and John Dickerson. Later arrivals were: J. B. Drew, who bought out Nicholson, Robert Fletcher, C. Lewis and John K. Robertson.

The first tax list gives the following names: James Acheson, John Dingwall, J. B. Drear, ____ Duggan, J. N. Dickerson, C. B. Knox, J. K. Robertson, Alexander Robertson, James Ross, H. Schuneman.

The name of Silver Lake was given by the many trappers who inhabited this region before the first settlers came. It was a favorite and productive hunting and trapping territory and the hunters usually picked the shore of Silver Lake as a camping place. It is also related that when the first settlers came here they found teepee poles set up here and left by the Indians. It was the custom for the red men to place these poles in advantageous spots over the country and when they arrived there at odd times simply stretch their robes over the framework and have a finished teepee, thus saving the trouble of transporting a supply of poles. Silver Lake Township was originally, until 1872, attached to Lakeville Township.


The first settler in Milford Township was A. D. Inman in 1866. Some other claims were entered that year, but were never improved, nor is it certain who made them. The year 1869 brought in a large number of homesteaders, however, among whom were: Andrew Blackman, R. C. McCutchin, Z. Slayton, C. Christensen, John Allar, Homer Wise, S. E. Inman, G. P. Clark, Hiram Ogg, H. H. Shipman, the Reeves brothers, C. Tinkham, E. Freeman, Eli Miller and a few others.

The tax list of 1873 for Milford Township gives the names of the settlers here then as follows: W. B. Arnold, John Allen, Jake Barnett, A. Blakeman, W. S. Beers, Austin Case, B. Carlton, G. P. Clark, R. B. Carpenter, William Everett, Ira S. Foster, A. D. Foster, G. P. Hawkes, Phillip Hales, A. D. Inman, Stephen Inman, Mike Johnson, George Kidney, Hance Larson, John McKibben, R. C. McCutchin, Eli Miller, Ed Moran, Hiram Ogg, Lain Paul, Ole Paul, Benjamin Pitcher, Elisha Page, John Page, Daniel Reeves, Wallace Smith, T. S. Seymour, M. W. Stone, Volney Smith, Asa Smith, Henry Seaton, Z. B. Slayton, H. H. Shipman, Clarence Tinkham, S. Whitcomb, Homer Wise, Samuel Zink, John Lawler, R. S. Gaylord, John Jarvis, Alfred Goss, A. C. Burnham, A. R. Cotton, G. W. Phillips, D. C. Shepherd, R. A. Smith and W. S. Reese. Some of the above are names of men owning land in the township, but not residing within its borders. The name of Milford was given by Seymour, Foster & Company.


As before stated, Excelsior Township originally embraced all of the present Westport Township, their division occurring in 1875. The first tax list, 1873, names the following persons as holding land within the township: J. S. Anderson, G. Anderson, W. H. Anderson, John Allman, Samuel Bartlett, Frank Boyd, J. H. Beebe, R. S. Beebe, R. Campbell, Samuel Campbell, H. Campbell, James C. Conkling, W. H. Coltrien, John Decker, Alfred Goss, James Grant, B. E. Hutchinson, George W. Hurd, Samuel Hutchinson, J. W. Hopkins, John T. Jewell, N. R. Jones, John Lambert, William F. Lewis, C. Lowder, Joseph Lucian, Charles Ladd, S. Middleton, R. A. McCutchin, M. McGhan, D. C. Moore, R. Nicol, C. D. Nicol, G. S. Needham, J. Putman, A. Peck, S. O. Pillsbury, Norman Phillips, D. Phillips, Lewis Potter, Edward Parker, H. C. Partridge, Randall Root, James R. Sloan, F. H. Stone, Thomas H. Stone, Leonard Smith, Eldis Smith, D. C. Shepherd, G. W. Smith, J. Smith, William Stillwell, A. S. Smith, Samuel Trindle, Lewis Taber, J. R. Upton, A. D. Wilson, Samuel Walker, John C. Work, H. W. White, W. O. White and G. Wilbur.


When the first tax list under the heading of Westport Township was compiled the following names were given: Henry Barkman, Frank Boyd, James C. Conkling, John Decker, John Giles, Samuel Hutchinson, J. W. Hopkins, Nathan R. Jones, J. T. Jewell, W. F. Lewis, John Lambert, J. S. Lucian, C. H. Ladd, Charles Lee, James, Hugh and Alexander McCutchin, R. B. and C. S. Nicol, Leonard Pearson, J. Putnam, Samuel Bartlett, Randall Root, D. C. Shepherd, Alex Smith, G. W. Smith, J. D. Smith, Samuel Trindall, Lewis C. Taber, W. O. and H. L. White. Most of the above had been previously listed in the township of Excelsior. The list is of the year 1876.

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