HISTORIES OF DES MOINES COUNTY, IA
Thanks to Cay Merryman
Middletown is situated four miles southeast of Danville on the line of the B. & M. Railroad. Josiah T. Smith, now in California, came from Ohio to Danville Township in April, 1839, and settled on the site of present village off Middletown. He laid out a portion of his land into town lots, which were surveyed by T. L. Sergent, in December, 1846. Subsequently other lots were surveyed by John D. Wright, County Surveyor, October 4, 1847. During the year 1847, a preliminary meeting of settlers was held to decide on a name, to be mentioned in the petition for a post office. John Sharp, of Pennsylvania proposed the name of Middletown, which was accepted for the office and future village. The first house built after the survey, was constructed of logs, and owned by Theodore Folensbe, who was appointed the first Postmaster. The office was established in 1847, in the log-cabin tailor-shop of the above named. In 1839, a log-cabin schoolhouse was built near the east line of Danville Township, in the neighborhood of the present village of Middletown, but really located in Flint River Township. It was called Lewins Point, and named after Mr. Lewins, one of the early settlers. In this building the religious meetings of the various denominations of neighboring settlers were held for many years. T. L. Sergent opened the first store in Middletown in a brick building, which was the first of its kind in the village, and was erected by him in 1851. In 1848, Mr. Sergent built a steam saw-mill which he afterward sold to a man who moved it away. From 1853-55 he built a steam flouring-mill, but shortly after move it to Mount Pleasant.
Thomas R. Davis was one of the earliest settlers in Danville Township; he came in 1835. Other pioneers in the vicinity were Francis Reddin, Mr. Basey, Joseph Edwards, John Hodgen and William Lamme.
George W. Dee, born in Franklin County Vt., March 2, 1807, departed from that rocky country by a two-horse team May 3, 1839, traveling overland to Buffalo, N. Y., thence shipping by boat over Lake Erie to Detroit, Mich. Here the wagon and tough French Canadian horses were again brought into use. Traveling across the country, leaving Chicago twenty-five miles to the north, Mr. Dee reached Fulton, Ill., and from there shipped by steamboat to Burlington; thence he proceeded at once to his brother Warren Dees farm on the line of Augusta Township. Warren Dee had come in the fall of 1838, just before the land-sale, bought a claim and entered it. This claim was located two miles southwest of what is now the village of Middletown. George W. Dee bought a claim of his brother, built a log cabin upon the same, entered it, and at the time of the land-sale paid $200 for the same.
The first marriage in the village of Middletown took place in the winter of 1847, when W. W. Correll and Elizabeth were united.
The United Presbyterian Church, of Middletown, was organized over thirty years ago and an edifice was erected in 1851, which was sold to the Methodists in 1874, about the time the United Presbyterian Church disbanded.
The First Presbyterian Church, of Middletown, was organized December 29, 1851, by a committee of the Presbytery of Iowa, consisting of J. C. Sharon and F. B. Dinsmore. The first members were: Samuel P. Jaggar, Ruling Elder; Mrs. Ann McClelland, Mrs. Parmelia Jaggar, Miss Cordelia Terrill, J. G. W. Robinson, Mrs. Hester Long, Miss Elizabeth Long, M. W. Robinson, Mrs. Martha Robinson, John Baird, John M. Clark, Mrs. Hannah Huntington, Mrs. Keziah Jaggar. The first Pastor was Rev. Robert McGuigan. The present Pastor is W. J. Bohlman, who was installed October 1, 1875. He resides in Burlington, and is teacher at the High School. The present membership is eighty, and the value of the church property, $2,600.
Connected with the Church is the Ladies Missionary Society. A Union Sabbath school is held in this church.
The Methodist Church, of Middletown, has for its Pastor I. N. Busby. Nothing of its early history could be ascertained.
In 1858, a new frame schoolhouse was built in Middletown, and called Subdistrict No. 9 of Danville Township. The present teacher is Morris Clark.
The Middletown Temperance Union was organized in 1871, and existed until February, 1878, when a re-organization took place and the name was changed to Union Reform Club, of Middletown. The first officers of the new association were: S. J. McMaken, President; Frank Carden, Recording Secretary; Benjamin Burton, Financial Secretary; Miss Carry Utter, Treasurer. The present officers are the same, except that W. T. McMaken has been elected Vice President.
In connection with the temperance work, literary exercises are indulged in by the members of the association. The present membership is something over one hundred.
Middletown has two general stores, two carpenters, one blacksmith, one butcher, one painter and one physician. It also has two public halls. The present Postmaster is John Hodgen.
The township officers of Danville Township are: E. Beans and William Stewart, Justices of the Peace; J. P. Wing and W. W. Kelley, Constables; Samuel E. Keller, Clerk; David Philips, Assessor; B. W. Antrobus, Henry Mathews, J. W. Hough, Trustees.
Parrish Post Office is also located in the township of Danville.