Place Names of Story County

Place Names of Story County

George H. Scheetz

Preface. This is a comprehensive
guide to Story County's named places and political subdivisions, past and
present. It includes county, townships, precincts, cities, towns, villages,
hamlets, inhabited locales, railroad junctions, and post offices. It excludes
most geographical features and named country schools. Each entry provides
concise origin and meaning of name -- if known -- and other pertinent data,
including location, plat date, and post office.  Additions and corrections
are welcomed.

Key. References, in brackets,
correspond to the bibliography.  cf. = compare.  co. = county. 
pct. = precinct.  p.o. = post office.  q.v. = which see. 
tp. = township.  § = section.

County

Story County -- For Joseph
Story (1779-1845), of Massachusetts, jurist and associate justice of United
States Supreme Court. Allegedly named at the insistance of Phineas M. Casady,
of Fort Des Moines, senator, who was elected to the General Assembly in
1848. Established 13 January 1846, when Iowa was still a territory. Organized
(i.e., first elected county officials) 4 April 1853. [Allen1:10,20, Goodspeed,101,
Payne:12-13]

Foreword.  Iowa has two types of townships. 
Civil townships are minor political subdivisions of counties. Story County's
civil townships exactly correspond to the boundaries of its congressional
(or geographical) townships, which are square--six miles on each side--with
boundary lines tied into a system of public-land survey coordinates called
principal meridians (running north-south) and base lines (running east-west). 
Each congressional township is designated by the number of townships north
or sonth of the base line and ranges east or west of the principal meridian
it is located;  e.g., Township 84 North and Range 24 West of the 5th
principal Meridian (T.84.N./R.24.W.), which corresponds to Franklin Tp. 
Iowa is one of 13 states which have named civil townships.

Collins Township -- Perhaps
for Rev. John Collins, of Ohio, "renowned for his oratorical powers." Organized
1857. [Allen1:280] 

Dayton Township -- Name
originally proposed for Lincoln Tp. [q.v.], in 1866. Cf. town of Dayton.
[Grimm:9-10, SC2]

Franklin Township -- For
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), American statesman, scientist, and philosopher. 
Organized 1854. [Allen1:192]

Grant Township -- For
Ulysses Simpson Grant (18221885), lieutenant general commanding all United
States armies during Civil war, and 18th president. Organized 1867. [Allen1:223]

Howard Township -- Allegedly
(1) for Gen. Oliver Otis Howard (1830-1909), American army officer during
Civil War, and founder of Howard University.  Because township was
named prior to war, it seems more likely that it was named either (2) for
Howard Co., Iowa, which was named for Tilghman Ashurst Howard (1797-1844),
United States representative from Indiana and Texas patriot, or (3) for
Benjamin Howard (1160-1814), Kentucky legislator, United States representative,
and, later, governor of Louisiana Territory. Organized 1859. [Allen1:180
(as "W. O. Howard"), Harder:241-242]

Indian Creek Township
- For its longest stream of water, Indian Creek.  Cf. Indian Pct. 
Organized 1853.  [Allen1:269]

Indian Precinct -- For
Indian Creek, the site of many early eastern Story Co. settlements. 
One of two election precincts, with Story pct. [q.v.], which preceded the
formation of civil townships.  Also as "Indian Creek Pct." Cf. Indian
Creek Tp.  Established 1853.  [A11en1:20,53, Goodspeed:137-138]

Lafayette Township --
For Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette
(1757-1834), French statesman and officer, who aided United States during
Revolutionary War. Also as "LaFayette and "La Fayette." Organized 1854. 
[Allen1:184]

Lincoln Township -- For
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th president. See also Dayton Tp. Organized
1866.  [Allen1:169 (as organized 1867), SC2]

Milford Township -- Uncertain. 
Perhaps for Milford, Hampshire, England, or for a town of the same name
in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Ohio, or Pennsylvania.  Organized 1858.
[Allen1:197, Harder:342]

Nevada Township -- <neh
vay'duh>  For Sierra Nevada mountains.  Nevada is Spanish for
"snow clad" or "snowy 1and."  Named, with the town of Nevada, by Joseph
M. Thrift, of Boone Co., one of three commissioners appointed by the state
Legislature "for the purpose of locating the county seat for Story County." 
Thrift had been a '49er, and was so attached to the Sierra Nevada mountains
that he named one of his daughters Sierra Nevada Thrift.  The state
of Nevada came later.  Organized 1853. [Allen1:8-9,211, Goodspeed:131-32,192,
Stennett]

New Albany Township --
For town of New Albany [q.v.].  Organized 1858.  [Allen1:205] 

Palestine Township --
For town of Palestine [q.v.].  Organized 1858.  [A11en1:246]

Richland Township -- Descriptive
of quality of soil, i.e., for its beautiful rich land
A not uncommon name.  Organized 1872.  [Al1en1:200]

Sherman Township -- For
William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891), American army commander, who served
during Civil War.  Organized 1867. [Allenl:203]

Skunk River Precinct --
For Skunk River, which traverses Story Co., and the site of many of its
early western settlements. Probably less official name for Story Pct. [q.v.]. 
River's name is either (1) derived from Algonquian checauque, meaning
"a rank, offensive odor, as of onions"; or (2) from the large number of
skunks living along its banks.  Early names included Polecat, Bete
puante (Stinking Beast), Chacagua, and Shecaqua. The Sank, Fox, and Kickapoo
shekagua
is translated "place of the skunk," and is the origin of the name Chicago. 
Established 1853. {Allen1 :189 (as "Chicaqua"), Goodspeed: 137-138, 206
(as "Chicaugua"), Petersen: 160-61;342-43]

Story Precinct -- For
the county [g.v.]. One of two election precincts, with Indian Pct. [q.v.],
which preceded the formation of civil townships. Comprised the western
part of Story Co.  Also called Skunk River Pct. [q.v.]. Established
1853.  [Allen1:20,53, Goodspeed:137-138]

Union Township -- A common
and favorite patriotic name, often for the American union of states. Organized
1855. [Allen1:252]

Warren Township -- For
Joseph Warren Maxwell, then the chairman of Story Co. Board of Supervisors. 
Cf. Maxwell.  Organized 1872.  [Allen1: 177, SC2]

Washington Township --
For George Washington (1732-1799), 1st president. Organized 1854. 
[Allen1:227]