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Appanoose County >> 1913 Index

Past and present of Appanoose County, Iowa: ... 
L. L. Taylor, editor.  Chicago : S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1913. 

Chariton Township

Biographies submitted by Alice Wayne Daniels.

Page 389

In January, 1848, several townships were erected by the board of commissioners, of which township 70 north, range 18 west was one, and named Chariton, after the river that at times causes alarm and considerable damage. It is in the northern tier of townships and bounded as follows: Monroe county on the north; Taylor township on the east; Walnut township on the south and Independence on the west. The Chariton river and Honey creek meet in the center of the township and their branches extending in every direction appear like an octopus. Buck creek meanders on the east side and with these streams Chariton is thoroughly drained and provided with plenty of water. This also means the presence of considerable timber. Notwithstanding these conditions, a large portion of the township is given over to agriculture and the farms are finely improved. Stock-raising obtains and a general air of progress is to be observed on every hand.

Dempsey Stanley, Noah Nash, Jonathan Scott, John H. Zimmer and John Jackson were officials of the election held in the township in the spring of 1849 and settled here some time previous to that year. The records are silent on the subject of who were the first settlers in the community.

James and Mary Dykes, with their son, Nathaniel, emigrated from Tennessee in 1845 and settled in the township. James Dykes died in 1854 and Mary Dykes died in 1863. Nathaniel served in the Civil War, enlisting when but seventeen years of age. He become a prosperous farmer in this locality.

In 1856 B. F. Younker, with two brothers and their families, and others to the number of twenty persons, with teams and wagons, started from their homes in Indiana for Nebraska. Upon reaching the Mississippi river the party took down with fewer and six, including the two brothers, died. On reaching Iconium, B. F. Younker stopped there and engaged as clerk in the store of Thomas Beam. He afterward became a merchant on his own account. In 1861 Mr. Younker married Susan Funkhouser, daughter of David and Susan Funkhouser, old settlers of the county, and learned wagon-making.

Lewis Main left Ohio in 1855 and settled in Taylor township, this county. His son Lewis, who came with him, married Mary E. Broshar and in the fall of 1855 located in this township.

James M. Walter came in the year 1856.

James W. Wailes was a farmer and stock-grower and settled on section 17, this township, with his parents, in 1851. He has held township offices and was member of the county board of supervisors.

Nathaniel McDanel was born in Beaver, Pennsylvania, and came to Appanoose county in 1856, settling on section 12, Chariton township. He held township offices.

Page 390
Mrs. Caroline McKern, widow of J. McKern, settled on a farm on section 11, this township, in 1856. Her husband died while serving his country in the Civil war. Her son, J. McKern, was born in Henry county, Iowa, and came here with his parents.

J. W. Main was a settler of 1855. He was a Civil war veteran. He became prosperous.

John Free was born in North Carolina. He came to the county and settled in this township about 1852 or 1853. In 1854 he was married to Harriet E. Sheeks, daughter of Samuel S. Sheeks, who had been a resident of the county since 1850. Mr. Free at one time owned almost one thousand acres of land.

J. S. Graham, a “Buckeye” by birth, settled here in 1856.

William Gladfelder settled on a farm in this township, in section 24, in 1853. He was a practical carpenter as well as a farmer.

George R. Haver settled here in 1857.

Oliver Brees was born in Indiana and came to Appanoose county in 1858.

Lawrence B. Cain settled upon a farm in this township in 1855, and in 1858 was instrumental in the organization of a Methodist church, which flourished in the township for many years.

J. J. Coulson settled in Taylor township in 1853, with his father, William Coulson. He became prominent in this township, both as a farmer and school teacher.

William Argo was born in Ohio. He came to Appanoose county in 1855 and contributed a good share toward the upbuilding of the township. He acquired several hundred acres of land.

L. Broshar was born in the Hoosier state. He immigrated to this county in 1855, at the age of fourteen years, with his father, Zacharias Broshar. He was a veteran of the Civil war and held several township offices.

John and Sophia (Wilson) Wailes, natives of Maryland, came to Appanoose county about 1850 and took up five hundred acres of land in Chariton township, upon which Mr. Wailes built a log house 16x18 feet. James W. Wailes, a son, lived on this farm over a half century.

William F. Vermilion and Nancy (Shaw) Vermilion, his wife, natives of Kentucky, removed from that state in 1840 to Putnam county, Indiana. From the latter state he emigrated to Iowa in 1857 and settled at Iconium, Chariton township, where he took up the practice of medicine and continued therein until the Civil war. Returning from the front, where he had served as captain of Company F, Thirty-sixth Iowa Infantry, he devoted himself to the study of law and was admitted to the bar and practiced his profession in Centerville. He died December 28, 1894.

Mahlon R. Worthington came to Appanoose county with his father, Thomas Worthington, in 1856, and located on a farm in this township. The elder Worthington was a veteran of the Civil war.

There is little to be gleaned in this vicinity in the way of history. The Mormon trail of 1846 and subsequent years passed here, but the immigrants of that faith had gone by before this part of the county has been settled.

Page 391
Joseph Steward built a sawmill, where he also ground corn, south of the village of Iconium in 1852, and in the following year a schoolhouse was built in the town, which was subsequently removed some distance south of it. The structure was built of logs.

The people along the line between Walnut and Chariton townships organized a church of the United Brethren faith in the ‘50s, which was presided over by Rev. Shaffer, who erected at his own expense a small building for religious purposes. The structure was afterward sold to the school district and used as a schoolhouse. Another society of the same faith was organized in the northern part of the township in 1857, which was known as Salem church. The members at this time were Joshua Funkhouser and wife, Aaron McCoy and wife, James Johnson and wife, Daniel Funkhouser and wife, Jacob Funkhouser and wife, Seth Johnson and wife, Eli Johnson and wife, John W. Main and wife, and John Hiner and wife. The first pastor was Rev. Kellogg. A church edifice was built in 1869, 30 x 40 feet, and cost $600. Rev. E. B. Kephart, of Western College, delivered the dedicatory sermon.


The cluster of houses on section 5 lies on a tract of land surveyed in March, 1857, for H. Myers. At one time the projector of the town had high hopes of its future greatness, which was intensified when a preliminary survey of the Burlington & Missouri railroad took in the village. But the road was not for Iconium and the place remained but a hamlet, containing a store or two, church and a few dwellings.

A newspaper tried to exit here but the experiment was a dismal failure. This was in 1869. There were also about that time a flour mill, a wagon and blacksmith shop, general store and drug store and a postoffice. There is no railroad in Iconium nor is there one in the township.


The Methodist organized a class here as early as 1854 and was known as Chariton Mission. Some of the members of the class were Thomas and Rebecca Cuppy, Timothy and Sarah Allison, John T. Brown and wife, W. H. and Sarah Argo and Mrs. Mary Argo. The early pastors were Revs. David Swem, Benjamin Williams, Jacob Delay, Jesse Sherwood, Abner Orr, Samuel Tolbert, R. P. Morrison, John Armisted, David Monroe and W. A. Nye. In 1870 a house of worship was erected and dedicated by Rev. James Allender, presiding elder. The church cost $1,400. The present pastor is C. R. Young.

Pages 391-392

This organization was formed January 25, 1862, under the direction of Elder J. C. Seavey. The first elders were C. C. Trim and Jacob Fees. The first deacons were J. R. Clough and William Davenport. Other organizing members were Joseph Brees, Benjamin Brees, Margaret Brees, Sr., Margaret Brees, Jr., Louisa Clough, Nancy Ann Fees, Lydia A. Bridges, Parthenia Ruddle, Mary Brees, Julia Davenport and Margaret Anderson. A church was built in 1870 and dedicated in June, 1871, by Elder Walden. The size of the building was 40x48 and cost $1,500.