1879 History of Menard & Mason Counties
Published by: O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers
186 Dearborn Street

Mason County

Schools, Churches, Etc.
Page 684

The first settlers by no means neglected the intellectual culture of their children, and so we find that as soon as a half a dozen families were located in the same neighborhood, a temple of learning was erected. The first schoolhouse in this part was built on Pennsylvania Lane in 1853 or 1854. Miss Martha Randall is credited with being the first teacher. At present there are seven school districts in this township, each supplied with a good frame building, and the annual amount expended for educational purposes compares favorable with that of surrounding sections. The earliest ministers in this part of the moral vineyard were Revs. Mowrey, Randall and Sloan. They were ministers in the M. E. Church. The early meetings were held in the schoolhouse. After a few years, through the death and removal of members, the society became so reduced in numbers that the field was abandoned, and remained unoccupied till 1873, when the Presbyterians organized a society and erected a church building. What is known as the Pennsylvania Presbyterian Church was built in the fall of the last mentioned year. It is a neat frame building with arched ceiling, 30 x 40 feet, and cost, at the time of its construction, $2,150. Rev. S. J. Bogle was the first Pastor, and gave his first year's labor to the church free of charge. While his regular labor is with the Church in Mason City, he still continues to preach for his congregation on stated occasions. The early communicants of the Church were John Vanhorn, wife and daughter, Mrs. M. J. Cavern, John W. Pugh and wife, and Mrs. Mary Pottorf. The present membership numbers about thirty. A few members of the Baptist Church are residents of the neighborhood, and Rev. Mr. Hobbs, of Mason City, discourses to them on the second Sunday of each month in this building. This is the only church building in the township outside of the village of Teheran. Dr. J. P. Walker, now a prominent physician of Mason City, was among the first to practice the healing art in the township. The first death among the settlers of this section was doubtless that of Mrs. James Wandel, whose decease occurred at the residence of her son, Jimison H. Wandel, in the spring of 1854. The wife of Joseph Cease died a few months later. We have not placed these facts, viz., the appearance of the physician in, and the coming of death to the settlement, in juxtaposition in our history, in order that the inference may be readily drawn that the debut of the medicine-man in a community necessarily augurs the speedy demise of some of its members, and lest some noble and devoted disciple of Esculapius might feel aggrieved at the order of facts given, we here enter our disclaimer to any such intention. And yet the sight of a doctor always suggests to our mind the idea of disease, sickness and death. The first to enter the connubial relation was Jimison H. Wandel, whose marriage to Sarah E. Depue was celebrated in the fall of 1852. Many others have since been married and given in marriage, as in common throughout the length and breadth of this goodly land. Whose was the first birth in the township cannot now be definitely ascertained. That there have been first-born males and first-born females in many families of this section, is fully evidenced by the fact that bright-eyed lads and lasses render joyous and gladsome the hearts of parents in many a household. Among the early Justices of the Peace in this quarter, the invincible Jimison H. Wandel leads the list. He was called upon to discharge the functions of this important, though often belittled office, as early as 1858. He was also commissioned the first Justice for the township after its organization. As originally set off, it contained a large portion of what is now included in Sherman Township, two sections of Forest City and four of Manito. Altogether, it embraced fifty-eight full sections. In 1867, it was reduced to its present limits. The political complexion of the township has always been Democratic. Whenever a strict party vote has been cast, she has never given forth any uncertain sound, but has always raised her voice lustily for the Democratic party. During the "late onpleasantness" she furnished her full quota of war-boys to the rank and file of the army, and was at no time subjected to a draft. Taken throughout its whole extent, it compares favorable with the adjacent townships as an agricultural district. The low or marshy lands, when a little more effectually drained, will constitute the most productive portions within its limits.

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