Scott Co, Iowa USGenWeb Project
HISTORY OF PLEASANT VALLEY TOWNSHIP
"From History of Scott County, Iowa 1882 Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co."
Surnames: Barrows, Birchard, Blackman, Bradley, Baxter, Chamberlain, Campbell, Clark, Cable, Cole, Cragin, Davison, Davis, Eldridge, Emerson, Fenns, Fernald, Green, Gould, Haskel, Henley, Hyde, Hodges, Hawley, Hall, Hedges, Jones, Lyman, Lathrop, Myers, Moss, Mitchell, Monroe, Nichole, Pike, Pinneo, Pope, Payne, Rowe, Spencer, Stone, Smith, Scroggins, Stanfford, Thompson, Trask, Tuttle, Thorn, Works, White, Wyman and Wells.
The natural beauty of that portion of Scott County lying upon the river above Davenport, called Pleasant Valley, terminating at the point of bluff at the mouth of Spencer's Creek, is one that once seen can never be forgotten. "A short distance above East Davenport," says Willard Barrows, writing in 1860, "the bluffs recede from the river, leaving the bottom lands a mile wide, very little of which ever overflows. The gently sloping bluffs continue for several miles, sometimes approaching and then receding from the river forming at times landscape views of unsurpassed beauty. Now that these lands are dotted over with tasteful and well-cultivated farms and gardens, from the river even to the tip of the bluffs in places, it presents one of the most lovely rural scenes on the Upper Mississippi."
The first settlement in the township was made by Roswell H. Spencer, in the fall of 1833, when he built a log cabin upon the bank of the river a little above the present ferry-landing from Hampton, on the opposite side of the river, to Valley City, a town laid out upon this side of the river.
During the winter of 1833 - '34 J. B. Chamberlain moved into the cabin built by Mr. Spencer, his being the first white family in the valley. In the spring of 1834 Mr. Chamberlain built a cabin upon the bank of the river, a little above the mouth of Crow Creek. In addition to Mr. Spencer and Mr. Chamberlain during the year 1834, there came in Daniel Davison, Calvin Spencer and James Thompson.
In 1835 a few more families were added and improvements were made of lasting benefit to the township. The immigrants this year were: M. J. Lyman, James Haskel, Thomas Davis, B. F. Pike, D. C. Davison, G. M. Pinneo, H. H. Pinneo and Avery Pinneo.
Among the immigrants in 1836 was John Works, who was subsequently elected to the office of county commissioner, which office he filled till 1841. He was a plain, unassuming man, of excellent judgment and sterling integrity. Among others were Thomas Jones, Stephen Henley, Andrew Hyde, Alfred White, H. G. Stone, J. A. Birchard, Samuel and Wheller Hedges, Anson Rowe, Louis Blackman, William Trask, Franklin Rowe, Hiram Green, John Wilson, Royal Gilman, S. h. Gilman, John J. Clark, John Tuttle, Daniel Wyman and George W. Thorn.
The immigrants of 1837 were Lyman Smith, Ernest Gould, D. N. Pope, Captain Isaac Hawley, Cyrus P. Hawley, William P. Eldridge, G. J. Hyde, Jerry Payne, Robert Scroggins, John Campbell, and William Nichols. Among the pioneers of Pleasant Valley Township was C. T. Myers. He emigrated from Steuben Co., N. Y., to Scott County, in 1837. His father was pilot on the first steamboat ever invented. He died in Princeton Township and was buried in Pleasant Valley.
In 1838 came G. W. Fenns, Thomas Hall, Isaac Hedges, John Emerson, Lucius Moss, Horace Bradley, and A. B. Lathrop. From that time on changes were of frequent occurrence, and the township was in time settled by a thrifty, enterprising people.
In March, 1834, a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Chamberlin, which was the first white child born in the valley. In the fall of 1837 the child and its mother both died, as also an older sister.
In 1835 Davis & Haskel built a grist-mill, the first ever built in the county, or in this part of the state. It was situated on Crow Creek, just above where the present river road crosses that stream, and although of the most rude and primitive kind, having two common boulders, rough hewn, for stones, yet it was one of the most essential improvements of that day. Settlers came from a great distance for several years to this mill, which was a log structure, which, after serving the public faithfully for many years, was permitted to go to decay.
A saw-mill, the first in the county, was also built in this valley in 1835, by Captain Clark of Buffalo. This was situated on Duck Creek, near its mouth. These two mills, humble as they were, supplied the wants of the early settlers, not only of Pleasant Valley, but all the surrounding country for many miles.
In 1836 Haskel & Davis built a saw-mill near the mouth of Crow Creek, on the Mississippi River, which was afterward purchased by Stephen Henley, who made important additions and improvements.
Spencer & Work built the third saw-mill in the county, in the summer of 1837, on Spencer's Creek, a small stream that empties into the Mississippi near Valley City. This creek was called by the Indians, Wau-pe-me-sepo (White Pegeon Creek). During this year Samuel and Wheeler Hedges built the second grist-mill in the county, on Crow Creek, some four miles from its mouth, having the first French burr-stones that ever came into this part of the country. It is a remarkable fact, that up to this time, although settlements had been made and rapid progress made up and down the river, and back into the interior as far as Cedar River, where mill privileges were numerous, yet Scott County had more mills in operation than all the country for 40 miles, and many settlers came that distance to mill.
The first steam mill was built by Spencer and Stafford, in 1856 or '57 , at a heavy cost. It was sold in 1859 to Cable & Mitchell, of Rock Island, who disposed of it to a Mr. Wells, in whose possession it was burned.
Johnson and Boyington were among the settlers of 1839. They built this year a distillery, the first, it is believed, ever introduced into Scott County. Like many others who have undertaken the manufacture of spirituous liquors, they failed in the enterprise, and removed to other parts.
In 1836 a postoffice was established in this township, called "Pleasant Valley," with J.A. Birchard as postmaster, an appointment which is said that he held longer than any similar office in the State. He was succeeded in 1856 by Roswell H. Spencer, who retained it a few years and was succeeded by C. C. Cole, who was succeeded by Henry W. Fernald. His successor was Mr. Baxter. The present incumbent is Mr. Monroe.
Pleasant Valley has the honor of having within its borders the first school in Scott County. In the winter of 1835 -'36, Josiah B. Chamberlin united with Capt. B. W. Clark, and probably one or two others, in hiring Simon Cragin, of Bangor, Maine, a discharged soldier from the fort, who taught a four-months term of school in Mr. Chamberlin's house. It is doubtful whether one of Mr. Cragin's qualifications would be employed in the township to-day.
In 1836 and 1837 there were schools held in private houses a portion of the time; and in 1838 a school-house was erected on section 13, and Miss Julia Rowe (now Mrs. George J. Hyde) was the first teacher. She was succeded by Austin B. Lathrop, and from that time to the present, school has been held in the district from six to ten months each year. When the township was divided into districts, the neighborhood in which this first school-house was situated became District No 1. In 1856 this district built a substantial brick school-house about a half a mile east of the original location, at a cost of $3,000.
In 1845 District No. 2 was formed, and a school-house was built near George J. Hyde's, the district embracing a portion of the township of Le Claire, now Lincoln. The latter portion was detached in 1859. The present school-house was built in 1871, at a cost of $1,000. In 1875 the house was removed to its present location, this being necessary in order to secure a more central location, for the accommodation of the school population. This change was not effected without the usual contention arising from its removal.
In 1846 District No. 3 was organized, and built a house near C. L. Meyer's. This house was burned in 1869, and in 1870 a new school-house was erected, which cost, including furniture, $2,000. It is now called Belmont School-house.
District No. 4 was set off from No. 1 in 1855, and held school in private houses until 1869, when a house was built on the river road, near Duck Creek, at a cost (including furniture) of $1,600.
District No. 5 was formed in 1873, of a portion of No. 2, and the northeast part of the township, which had been attached to a district in Le Claire Township. A neat school-house was erected, which cost, when furnished, $1,500.
In 1873 the sub-districts, which had been under the township district system, all voted to become independent, and organized independent districts. No. 1 took the name of Pleasant Valley; No. 2, Hopewell; No. 3, Belmont; No. 4, Duck Creek; No. 5, Forest Grove. In the township there are 288 between the ages of 5 and 21, and an enrollment of 218.
The first religious service in the township was in 1835, at the house of J. B. Chamberlin. There is now in the township but one church edifice, owned by the Methodist denomination. This was the first organized Methodist church in Scott County.