Vol. 1 of the 1914 Delaware County History pgs. 315-318




In March, 1856, S. P. Mosher and others petitioned the County Court for the erection of a new township, to be composed of congressional townships 88, range 5, and 88, range 6, and to be known as Pleasant Valley. The prayer was granted, but the new organization was called Milo.

The Maquoketa and its branches drain the undulating prairie land of Milo. The soil is par excellence for general farming and stock-raising. Splendid homes, highly improved and cultivated farms, modern outbuildings, good fences, excellent roads, churches, and schoolhouses are in evidence on every hand. Milo takes a high place among her sister townships and the group make a county that is hard to beat in all Iowa.

Joel Bailey was one of the real pioneers of Delaware County. His first intention was to settle in South Fork, at or near the present location of Hopkinton, but upon his arrival there in March, 1838, he found the Nicholson fam­ily already established on a claim. This swerved him and his companions. Cyrus and John Keeler, towards the northwest, and arriving in Milo Township, they selected land on sections 10 and 15. Here they built a log cabin and broke about twenty acres of prairie sod. Mr. Bailey then worked during the summer for a Mr. Belong, in Dubuque County, and in the fall, having raised a patch of wheat and corn, Bailey and Belong took a load of each to Sage's Mill, on the Maquoketa, six miles from Dubuque, and had the grain turned into flour and corn meal. This they peddled in Dubuque, and the flour was the first to reach Dubuque from the western settlements. The next fall Mr. Bailey raised a crop of wheat on his own claim. He took a wagon load of the grain, or forty bushels, to Sage's Mill, the wagon being drawn by three yoke of oxen. He reached his destination in two days, and then to his consternation learned the water was low and that several "grists" were ahead of him. While waiting for his turn he worked in the miller's blacksmith shop and thus paid for his "keep." Getting his flour, he again went to Dubuque and disposed of it, procuring nec­essary groceries, clothing and other things. This flour was the first to reach an outside market from Delaware County.

Mr. Bailey was for more than fifty years identified with the growth, pros­perity and improvement of Delaware County. He was born in Otsego County, New York, and was left an orphan at the age of nine years. At the age of fifteen he was taught the trade of making gun barrels. He also had an oppor­tunity to learn surveying. In the fall of 1835 he left the scenes of his childhood and traveling toward the setting sun, landed in Milwaukee when that city was scarcely a respectable hamlet. Here he boarded through the winter, at the first hotel, kept by a half-breed and his squaw wife. In the spring of 1836, attach­ing himself to a party of Government engineers young Bailey spent six months surveying on Rock River, in Illinois. In the spring of 1837 he came to Iowa with a party of Government engineers and assisted in surveying the south half of Delaware County and parts of Buchanan and Dubuque. In January, 1838, he returned to Milwaukee. The following spring, in company with John and Cyrus Keeler, who were from Delaware County, New York, he returned to Delaware County, Iowa, where the party made claims and built a cabin on the south fork of the Maquoketa River, at what is now known as Bailey's Ford.

Judge Bailey was active in the organization of the county, was one of the committee who selected the location for Delhi as the county seat and was the first county surveyor and judge of the County Court. He married Arabella Coffin, daughter of Judge Clement Coffin, of Coffin's Grove, in 1844. Their eldest child, Clement James, was the first white child born in Milo Township. In 1849, young Bailey was in the Government survey of Shell Rock and Cedar rivers in Iowa, and in 1850 made an overland trip to California, returning in 1851 by way of Panama. As school fund commissioner, he sold most of the school lands in the county. Again he was in the Government survey in 1854, this time on Root and Canyon rivers, in Minnesota, and in 1855 in the north part of Wisconsin on the headwaters of the Chippewa River. In the spring of 1855 he was appointed postmaster at Bailey's Ford, then a stopping place on the stage line from Dubuque to Independence. After that time he held the office of county treasurer, county recorder and county judge and twice held the office of mayor at Manchester.

In 1841, Leverett Rexford built a log cabin near the Bailey home, which was later inhabited by John Lillibridge. After his work was completed he helped Mr. Bailey build a new cabin just north of his first one, which long remained occupied.

The Legislature, in 1843, appointed Joel Bailey, O. A. Olmstead and Robert W. Green to locate and mark a territorial road, commencing at a point in Buchanan County, thence by the county seat (Delhi) in Delaware County, to intersect the road from Marion, Linn County, to Dubuque County, at or near Olmstead's Mill.

July 7, 1845, Clement Coffin, Henry Baker and Aaron Sullivan were ap­pointed to view and mark a road "from Joel Bailey's to Baker and Coffin's Grove, thence westerly to intersect the territorial road from Buchanan County to Delhi,'' and Joel Bailey was appointed to survey the road.

About the year 1847 Leverett Rexford, one of the early settlers of this town­ship, began the construction of a dam and sawmill on Spring Branch, near Bailey's Ford. The dam was nearly completed and the frame work of the mill ready to raise when he died, in the fall of 1848. John W. Clark purchased the frame and machinery, removed it onto the Maquoketa at Hartwick, where he built a dam and erected a mill in the spring of 1849.

Jane and Eliza Scott, whose home was near Delhi, upon returning to their employment at the county seat, in the spring of 1853, attempted to ford Spring Branch, a mile above Bailey's, but the water was so high that their horse and wagon were swept into the "deep hole" and the horse was drowned. The cur­rent carried one of the girls safely to shore, but the other was drawn into the eddy but was finally rescued by her sister, who succeeded in reaching her with a pole and drawing her to shore. One of the girls reached Bailey's cabin, but was so exhausted she could not for some time explain the situation. As soon as she made herself understood, Mrs. Bailey left her and hastened to the local­ity where the other girl was expected to be found. On her way she met John Lillibridge and they together carried the insensible girl from where they found her to Mr. Lillibridge's horse and placing the limp body on the animal's back, she was conveyed to the Bailey home, where both the unfortunate girls were given every attention and later taken to Delhi.

The first stone schoolhouse in Delaware County was erected in 1853, near Bailey's Ford. Some years later it was destroyed by fire.

There were many families settled in Milo Township in the later '40s and early '50s, but only a few of the names of these brave, industrious men and women are available for the purposes of this work. However, those at hand are herewith appended.

John Wood was a native of Ohio and removed with his parents to Illinois when two years of age. He became a resident of Delaware County in 1845 and in 1861 enlisted in the Second Iowa Cavalry.

David Conner was one of the old settlers of Delaware County, coming here in 1846.

William Crozier was a Buckeye by birth and came to Illinois and from there to Delaware County in 1846, settling in Milo Township. He was a veteran of the Civil war and a member of the Freewill Baptist Church.

John Clark, it was said, was the fourth settler of Milo Township, taking up his location here on a farm in 1849, at the time there were but five families in the county. He married Olive Rexford, in 1841, a daughter of another pioneer.

John P. Belcher, son of Miles and Celia T. (Lillibridge) Belcher, left the State of New York in 1850 and settled in Milo Township, entering a tract of Government land.

Mark Hamblin removed from Wisconsin with his wife and son, Edwin M. Hamblin, to Delaware County in 1851, locating in Milo Township.

Martin Lanning settled in the township in 1852.

John Emrich belongs in the category of Delaware's pioneers, having come to the county in 1855.

H. P. Duffy was a native of Ohio. He married and immigrated to Illinois, where he resided until 1854. In the spring of that year he located in Milo Township and became one of its best farmers. Mr. Duffy left the farm in the spring of 1889 to engage in the feed business at Manchester, purchasing the feed store of D. P. Ballard.

J. M. Akers, Kentucky born, moved with his parents to Indiana about 1827. He married Miss M. F. Wright, in 1843, and came to Delaware County in 1857, locating in Milo Township. George W. Ennis moved with his family from New York to this township in 1853. He was a veteran of the Civil war.

C. P. Dunton lived on section 15 many years. He came to the county in 1858, enlisted in Company K, Twenty-first Iowa Infantry and was mustered out in 1865. He now resides at Manchester.

Sealey and Mary Kaster, both natives of Pennsylvania, came to Delaware County in 1854, where he became a successful farmer. His son, Hiram Kaster, was given 100 acres of land in Milo Township in 1864, by the father. On this land Hiram Kaster settled and began farming. Six years thereafter he purchased forty acres more in the adjoining section 2. He was a veteran of the Civil war and held various township offices. He was a member of the Spring Branch Creamery Company, which was organized in May, 1889.

Golden is situated on section 31, and is a station on the Illinois Central, which enters the township on that section and running almost due north, makes its exit on section 6. There are but a few houses and a general store in the place.


Becky Teubner, Contributor



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