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Prehistoric Milford Township
by Jimmie D. Thompson Class of 1957
Jimmie is Nominated for an Honor
Editor-- in Aug 2008: Jimmie Thompson is a finalist for the Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation for his personal volunteer service and commitment to improving the quality of Iowa's natural environment provided through the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Note; he was Runner-up in 2008 and won the award in 2009. See page 206.

I have recorded over 230 Indian sites in Story, Marshall, Boone, Polk, Hamilton, and Green Counties with the State Archaeologists Office in Iowa City. Of these, 65 are in Story County. Of these 65 Story County sites, 16 were found in Milford Township. An additional 12 sites were recorded by Gradwohl and Osborn of the Anthropology Department at Iowa State University. These additional sites were reported in their paper "Stalking the Skunk"-"A preliminary survey and appraisal of archaeological resources in the Ames Reservoir" of 1972. Their archaeological survey was under the auspices of a National Park Service contract and "Contribution to the Ames Reservoir Environmental Resources Review Study" sponsored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers Contract. This proposed Skunk River reservoir was cancelled, in part, due to strenuous local objections. If developed, part of this new lake would have been in the far northwest corner of Milford Township.

As with most Indian sites, water and woodlands were the main necessity. The majority of Indian villages were along or near the Skunk River in sections 5, 6, 7, 17, and 18 of the northwest quarter of Milford Township.

An Indian burial mound I reported is in section 13 of adjacent Franklin Township about 3/4 of a mile west of Milford Township. Members of the Anthropology Department at Iowa State recovered a Woodland Period, 500 B.C. to 1100 A.D., pottery shard in a core probe of the mound. The mound is small, approximately 10 feet in diameter and less than 2 feet high.

Three of Milford Township's sites have been the most prolific for collecting artifacts than any of the sites I have collected. These sites are; the bank of Skunk River near Soper's Mill, the Skunk River floodplain field of the former Honderd residence, and the high hilltop of the former Fitzgerald residence. At one time that hill was used for sledding by Milford students. The interstate now cuts through the west side of the hill.

Artifacts found in Milford Township would range in age from approximately 400 to 500 years old (1600-1500 A.D.) to at least 6000 years old (4000 B.C.) or more.

Trapping In Milford Township
by Jimmie D. Thompson. Class of `57.

Peter Hadley and I (classmates -class of `57) on occasion went to school smelling of cologne of nature "Sweet Essence of Skunk". When trapping, you didn't always catch what you wanted to catch! With traps set on dry land along a fenceline trail, skunks were quite common, even an occasional spotted skunk, which are nearly extinct now. How do you skin a skunk? Very Carefully! You skin very careful around the "you-know-what" I can't recall Pete ever skinning a skunk, but I did on occasion.

Pete and I trapped in ditches and culverts near the Hadley farmstead- 1 mile south of Milford School House, in a pond 1 mile west of the Hadley farm, and in and around a dredged ditch on Brook's place, a half mile east of the Hadley farm.

We would meet up before school and ride our bikes and do a little walking to check the traps. We never did catch much but there was muskrats in the pond and dredged ditch that we tried to catch. I believe the pond, now the Story County Conservation Department's Cooper's Marsh, was just west of another Brooks family. I believe Jim Cooper lived in the house in the southeast corner of the intersection just to the west. Leon Wilson and family lived the first place north of that intersection on the west side of the road.

At the time my dad was the Milford School Custodian and there was coon hides on stretchers up against the fence just east of the custodian house that we live in at the time. I often wondered what people driving by thought about animal hides against the fence in the open on school grounds.

Later when we lived on the Ward Wierson place, 2 miles west and a half mile north of Milford School, and next 2 1/2 miles west in the small house on the Safly place, I rode my bike and hiked miles trapping and fishing on my own along the Skunk River.

Rare Plants of Milford Township
by Jimmie D. Thompson, Class of `57.

I assisted 4 botanist and plant experts from Iowa State University in a 1990-2000 plant inventory within 2 miles of the Ames city Limits where we found and collected specimens from 916 species of plants. All collected specimens were pressed and dried and deposited in the Ada Hayden Herbarium at I.S.U., where 640,000 specimens from all over the world are maintained in file cabinets.

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Page 272 of 354

© 2012 Mark Christian
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