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Henderson County Genealogy
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History of South Henderson Township

Township 10, range 5, was laid out by the government in 1816. This township, the most centrally located, does not contain the largest population, though almost a full township. It does not have so much tillable land as others, but it has contained and does contain more and larger industries than any other in the county. The population in 1860 was 489; in 1870, 1438; in 1880, 1135, showing a decrease in the last decade of 303. The area in acres is 22,735. The township surface corners on the Father of Waters, the bluffs of which extend through the township from north to south. They cut the north line one and one-fourth miles from the east line on the north, and the south line, three and one-half miles from the same line. These monuments of the "Ice Periods" of the north, in connection with the main Henderson creek and its confluent, South Henderson, flowing westwardly through the northern part, produce a diversified surface. These bluffs are gradually ascending, nowhere precipitous, extending at times into long, sharp ridges diametrically to their length, again culminating into high mounds or conical peaks, presenting a beautiful scenery, and from which may be seen a large scope of country and several town and cities, some of which are on the Iowa side. Sometimes they are bold and even romantic and quite lofty. One of the highest, probably, in the township is north of Mr. F. Galbaith's house, on section 22.

There is another very beautiful one just southeast of Gladstone, of conical shape and almost as high. Some of these bluffs afford some excellent building stone and stone for lime. The surface of the land east of the bluffs, and bordering on them, is very undulating; west of them is the second bottom, which is quite flat, but drainable; between the first and second bottom is what is called the sand ridge, which is somewhat rolling. The first bottom is very low, flat land, and is overflowed at times by the Mississippi.

The timber in this township is not principally confined to the streams, as in some other township. The eastern half of T10 R5, is largely composed of either timber or timber land, with the exception of two whole sections in the northeastern part and five in the south and southeastern portion. Large oaks, scattered here and there, covered the bluffs when first seen by the settlers. The oaks were so distributed that prairie grass grew all over the bluffs. Most of the young timber of the bluffs and elsewhere has grown up since the second set of settlers settled here. This young timber, which is, or most of which is, large enough to make good wood, is quite thick in places where it has not been cut for wood or rails. Some of the most valuable kinds of wood are black walnut, white oak and hard maple, sometimes called sugar-maple.

This township, situated as it is, contains about all the varieties of soils of the county, such as the black loam, the light, the sandy, and the sand soil. It does not have as much good tillable land as some other townships adjacent to it, though there is some good land found in T10, R5, as in any other county or state. There is strip of bottom land in the western part of the township, about two miles wide, mostly in the northern part and the bluffs, that cannot be called waste land, as most of the bottom not tilled or occupied by the several lakes are utilized by pasturing them.

These bottom lands, or swamp lands as some may call them, if they could be drained and diked against the overflow of the Mississippi, would make excellent farm lands.

The soil at the foot of the bluffs is the best soil in cultivation. It is of a deep dark mold, slightly sandy, and is best adapted to raising Indian corn. The soil on the prairies is of a black loam and will produce all kinds of grains. The soil of the timber-land is much lighter, but is often better adapted to wheat, oats and fruits.


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Copyright 2006 by Connie Lovitt Bates


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