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TOWN OF BENNINGTON.
This old town was laid out in August, 1848, by E. H. Baker, but has never contained over three or four houses, and now not even a post-office. It was platted from the east half of section 9.
A ferry owned and operated by Thompson Price crosses the Des Moines river at Bennington.
Hezekiah Gay was a bachelor, and is well remembered for his eccertricities. For some time after his settlement in the township, he lived by himself in a rude shanty near the present site of Bennington, and was much occupied with speculative ideas of manufacturing machinery to be operated by the water-power of the Des Moines river. Full of his plans of constructing an immense woolen factory, he was often seen with a minature trough filled with water, taking the level of the river, to ascertain what height he should build his dam to have sufficient power. But there was other power needed than water, and this Hezekiah had not, either in purse or in credit; so the water-power was never brought into service. He then became
interested in a shingle machine; and this involved him to an extent that subjected the property to an execution. About this time Hezekiah was seen on his way to "Tool's Point" (now Monroe), to procure a rope, as he stated to a neighbor, to serve as a belt for his machine. This was the last that was ever heard of Gay and his factory.
Immediately west of the town of Bennington, and about an eighth of a mile distant from it, is another town, named Perryville, which was laid out at an early day. Although it is possible the present residents of this locality have never heard of Perryville, the plat may be found in the proper book in the county recorder's office in Knoxville. It is as large, on paper, as almost any other town in the county. Whether the rapid growth of Bennington was the cause of Perryville's early death we know not, but we do know that it died in infancy and its boulevards and beautiful residence sites are now devoted to the raising of corn, pumpkins, and other farm flowers, and that the over-sanguine individuals, who invested in corner lots, wished they had not been so foolish.
Population in 1870, 465; in 1875, 491; in 1880, 454.
ROUS, JAMES M.-Farmer and attorney, Sec. 1, P. O. Prairie City. The subject of this sketch is one of the pioneers of Marion county, and since his residence here no man has been more closely identified with the interests of Perry township. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 5th, 1817, and lived there until twelve years of age, and then removed to Highland county, Ohio, and lived there until 1845, and then came to Iowa and settled in Mahaska county, where he remained until 1846, and then came to Marion county and settled in Perry township. He owns a farm of 180 acres, and in addition to his agricultural pursuits and various offices he has held, he has had quite an extensive law practice, and has a good reputation as a wise counselor. He has held all the township offices, and at present is a justice of the peace. He married Miss Mary Karr, of Ross county, Ohio, March 21, 1839. They have five children, Malinda, Charles G., Albert H., Elmira, James N., and they have lost three.
BROUS, B. F.-Farmer and stock-raiser, Sec. 8, P. O. Swan. Was born September 25, 1824, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When he was only five years of age his parents moved to Highland county, Ohio, where he was raised and educated. In the fall of 1846 he moved to Marion county, Iowa, and lived there until 1848, when he moved to Jasper county, and in 1852 he returned to Marion county, where he now resides. Mr. Brous being raised in a timbered country, and thinking that was the only place to make a farm he settled in the timber, and by severe toil he now has a farm of 184 acres, 80 of which are in cultivation. He also has one of the best houses in the township, being two-story and finished in the best of style. He was a member of the board of supervisors nine years, township clerk about five years, assessor six years, justice of the peace twenty-two years, township trustee six years. He was married to Miss Jane Johnston, of Miami county, Ohio, May 4, 1848. She was born Deccember 26, 1828. They have seven children, Ida T., Martha A., Mary R., Rhama J., Sylvester R., Rose A., and Almeda B.
OLLINS, WILLIAM.-Physician and surgeon, Sec. 5, P. O. Swan. Was born January 25, 1833, in Brown county, New York, and is the son of Joseph Collins. The same year he was taken by his parents to Portage county, Ohio, where the family remained two years, and thence to Tuscarawas county, in the same State, and lived there six years. In 1841 they moved to Huntington county, Indiana, and in 1853 came to Jasper county, Iowa. September 28th, 1861, he enlisted in the Fourteenth Iowa infantry, company E, and participated in several battles. November 11th, 1864, he was mustered out with impaired health from exposure while in camp. He was raised a farmer and followed it more or less until 1875, when he decided to practice medicine and commenced preparing himself
with Dr. E. C. Mosteller as preceptor, and since 1875 he has devoted himself to the active duties of his profession, and in which he has been satisfaetorily successful. His residence in Marion county dates from 1866, and he owns 83 acres of land. He married Miss Catherine Sours March 31, 1833. She was born in Summit county, Ohio, April 17th, 1833. They have six children living: Rufus, Elizabeth J., Sarah A., Joseph, Jesse, and Edwin C. They have lost three.
COWMAN, T. P.-Retired farmer and stock-raiser, Sec. 2, P. O. Prairie City. Was born December 19, 1819, in Rockbridge county, West Virginia, where he remained with his parents until 1831, then moved with them to Highland county, Ohio, where he remained till 1847.when he became a citizen of Marion county, Iowa. Mr. Cowman has been a hard-working, upright. and honorable man. He now owns a farm consisting of 120 acres. Be was married in September, 1840, to Miss Amelia Brown of Highland county, Ohio. She died in the fall of 1873. Have two children living: Martha A. and Alexander W. Have five deceased.
CRABB, WM.-Farmer and stock-raiser, Sec. 10, P. O. Swan. Was born September 15, 1848, in Marion county Iowa, where he has remained since that time. He was married April 6, 1872, to Miss Sarah E. Ogburn, of Indiana. She was born July 23, 1850. They have three children: Ardella. John C. and T. C.
ONAHOO, G. W.-Farmer and stock-raiser, Sec. 11, P. O. Prairie City. Is a native of Jasper county, Indiana, and was born July 30, 1838. He remained in his native county until the year 1854, when he, with his parents, moved to Iowa, locating in Marion county and engaged in agricultural pursuits and raising of stock. In the latter part of December, 1869, Mr. and Mrs. D. enjoyed a very pleasant trip to California, where they spent four months. After returning home they resided in Prairie City, until May, 1872, when they returned to their farm. He now owns 240 acres of land which presents as fine a view as there is along the Des Moines River. There is situated on his farm a large brick mansion, the only one in the township. He was township trustee five years. Miss Mary C. Aulman of Germany, became his wife September 2, 1858. She was born October 14, 1842. Crossed the briny deep in the spring of 1848, landing in New Orleans, and locating in Marion county, Iowa. They have one child. Emma J. She was born June 25, 1872. They have one adopted child, Ella A. True Lee. She was born August, 25, 1869.
INSCHEL, PAUL-Farmer and stock-raiser, Sec. 11, P. O. Prairie City. Born March 4, 1839, in Germany, the Kingdom of Bavara. He came to America when but seven years of age, landed at Baltimore in the winter of 1845, and went from thence to Washington county, Ohio. where he remained until eighteen years of age, and in the spring of 1858 went to California where he remained three years, engaged in farming. In 1861 he enlisted in company E, Fifth California, and was discharged November, 1864, when he returned to Washington county, Ohio, remained two weeks and moved to Marion county, Iowa. He owns 108 acres of land, sixty-eight of which are in cultivation. He is the present treasurer of his township and has held that office for five years. Was married to Miss Rebecca A. Worley, a native of Highland county, Ohio, February 16, 1866. She was born May 13, 1843. They have two children living: Benjamin F. (born November 16, 1871), and Alvin C. (born May 20, 1876). Have six
The Township-Town of Wheeling-Town of Swan-Biographical.
SWAN township was organized in April, 1853. On the 20th day of February, 1853, the petition of Eli Vanderford, and thirty-eight others, was presented to the county judge asking that Perry township be divided and a new township to be called Swan be organized. The petition was granted and Jacob Haynes was appointed organizing officer. The fourth day of April was appointed as the time of holding the first election, and the house of Charity Groom was designated as the place of holding the election.
Wilson Groom was the first township clerk, and John Shook was the first justice of the peace. The first school was taught by John E. Groom.
The first child born was Emma Jane Palmer, and Wm. Markley and Eva Groom were the first couple married.
This township is all of township 77, range 21, south of the Des Moines River, with the addition of 5 and 6, and the half of sections 1, 2, 3 and 4, belonging to township 76, same range. It is bounded on the north by Perry, on the east by Union, on the south by Pleasant Grove, and one the west by Warren county. Numerous small streams run through the township, mostly from south to north. Coal abounds in various parts, and thin veins have been found in wells of considerable depth Several veins have been opened and worked, one in the northwest part of the_township, owned by John Shook; one three miles east of Wheeling, by J. F. Smith; and one near and west of Wheeling by Wm. Cart. That of Mr. Smith has been most extensively worked, and is about four feet thick. This township is rather more than half timbered, the small streams being widely margined by heavy growths, covering all the northern part, except the wide strip of bottom land along the Des Moines River, called Hoosier Prairie, so named from the number of people from Indiana who settled on and about it. Part of this tract is uncultivated, being quite sandy and subject to inundations from the river. The southern part of the township is mostly prairie, with here and there a beautiful native grove.
Reference has already been made in this work to the notorious Jonas Casner, who figured so extensively in the criminal records of all the counties in Central Iowa. The family of which he was a member settled at an early day. The family consisted of five brothers, Jonas, William, John, Ebenezer, and James-all grown men except the last named, who was still a boy-and their mother. Jonas was married, and afterward took up his residence near Hartford, Warren county.
The reputation of Casners previous to their coming here was such as to justify the opinion that they were no profitable addition to the settlement, and their movements were closely observed by those who felt interested in the fair fame of the community, and the safety of property. It was believed that the Casners had been driven from Missouri for some misdemeanor of theirs there, and it was therefore deemed not advisable to permit hem to remain here undisturbed longer than they should give the people an excuse for disturbing them. Such an occasion eventually transpired. Bill went to Illinois on a marauding expedition, where he aided in a daring
robbery, and was caught and lodged in jail at Quincy. From there be somehow managed to escape, and was so closely pursued to within a short distance of his home that he was compelled to swim the Des Moines River somewhere below Des Moines City, and finally escaped.
News of Bill's escape from jail reached the people here, and a number of them determined to watch for his return to headquarters. Having secreted themselves so as to observe the approach of any one, they patient watched and listened till past midnight for whatever signs might indica the fugitive's arrival. They knew his family expected him that night, and that his brother John had joined him after he had crossed the river; but was now evident that the Casners believed, or at least expected that they were watched, and therefore acted with extreme caution.
At last the deep silence of that after-midnight was broken by the hour ing of an owl not far away in the timber, and this was presently answered by one near the house. This was taken by the watchers to mean something more than what owls are supposed to mean by it; but there was not the time to look for an explanation. When daylight came the squad surrounded the house, and Eb. and Jim were taken into custody. Being told that the owl signals had been heard, and that they must give a truthful explanatics of their meaning or be whipped, they both denied any knowledge of it But this their custodians believed to be false, and resolved to force them w tell the truth; so they led them away to a convenient place to administe the persuasive hickory. Seeing what was about to take place, poor olè Mrs. Casner attempted follow, declaring that if her boys were to suffer she would suffer with them; but she was rudely driven back by one of the men, and told that they only meant to whip them, a punishment her boys had been accustomed to.
Now being convinced that he must tell the truth or be severely whipped Jim, the boy, stated that the hooting of the owls was by his brother B and John to let him and Eb. know where they were, so that they could take them something to eat. This was satisfactory, and Jim was released. B Eb. concluded that he would stand the thrashing rather than tell, and the whip was vigorously applied; after which he was a second time admonished to confess or have the process repeated. Now being convinced tha:a confession would be more agreeable than another application of the gad, h corroborated Jim's statement.
They then led their custodians to the place of rendezvous, and their statement was further corroborated by the trail they had made in the The brothers had fled.
Thereupon the whole family was ordered to leave the country in a give time, and this order not being complied with, the people collected, com pelled the Casners to hitch up their team, load up their goods, and thes conducted them out of the county.
The total valuation of all the property, real and personal, in the township in 1855, was $89,968.
In 1870 the valuation was $188,072.
In 1879 the valuation was $180,459.
The population in 1870 was 1,001, in 1875 it was 883 and in 1880 it was 1,000.