Jackson Township is one
of the original townships established when the county was organized
in 1833. Its present boundaries include all of the Sections of T30N
and R20W plus Sections 13-36 comprising the south twelve Sections
of T31N and R20W. It is bounded by Dallas County on the north, Webster
County on the east, Taylor Township on the south, and Franklin Township
on the west. The township is blessed with abundant streams. The
Pomme de Terre River (which in French translates to "fruit
of the earth" or potato) crosses the township diagonally from
the southeast to the northwest. The headwaters of the Little Sac
River are also to be found in the Jackson Township.
Jackson Township was
settled before the county was established by Andrew Bass who is
said to have arrived in 1829. Other settlers followed, including:
Alphens Huff, 1830; Alexander Chadwick, 1831. Three settlements,
two of which became major towns, are within the boundaries of Jackson
Township. These are Fair Grove, Strafford, and the community of
Bassville, being named for Andrew Bass who settled in the area.
Other communities no longer in existance include: Nogo, noted for
the location of a railroad passing track, Walnut Forrest, Mulroy,
Lyman's Switch, and Martin.
Strafford was laid out
in 1871 along side the tracks of the new Atlantic & Pacific
Railroad which had come through in 1870. The land was donated by
Sarah Lane and the town named for the town in Connecticut where
prominent railroad stockholders lived. In addition to having the
advantage of being on the railroad, it later was located on the
old Highway 66 which came through in 1929.
The town of Fair Grove
originated around the Duke School, named for the teacher, Chatham
Duke. The school house, a log structure with a puncheon floor, rough
hewn benches with a hole in one wall to admit light, was erected
c. 1850. A store followed in about 1853. Originally operated by
John Ramey, ownership passed through several hands after that until
the store's goods were seized by Rebels during the Civil War, leaving
the proprietor, John Bales, "holding the bag."
In time merchandizing
began to develop around a town square. One of the businesses that
was established and contributed to the success of the town was a
mill, erected by Joe Hines and John Boegle in 1883, later becoming
known as the Wommack Mill. A 1920 photo shows a gazebo in the center
of the square that contained the town's electrical plant. For a
time the town of Fair Grove was on a major route running from Minnesota
to the Gulf. In 1930, when US Highway 65 was constructed, it bypassed
the town by a short distance.
The name "Fair
Grove" was reportedly suggested by Uncle Willis Spence at a
religious service in a brush arbor. This was the name of a Methodist
church in Randolph County, North Carolina, where Spence had been
In 1883, Joe Hines and
John Boegle constructed a mill in the community of Fair Grove. The
Fair Grove Historical and Preservation Society was organized in
1977 to restore and care for an old cemetery west of town that was
being neglected and allowed to grow up in weeds and briars. With
this project brought to a successful conclusion, the society embarked
upon another project, the restoration of the mill. The mill had
been most recently operated by Clifford Wommack from 1923 till 1969.
It stood idle for several years until being purchased by the Society
along with two acres of land. The Society began making plans for
its restoration as a working mill. Much of the original machinery,
including the buhr stones remained in the mill.
to the list of Greene County's townships.