An evening filled with the fun of a hayride and picnic ended with a grinding, scraping jolt that knocked the hayrack out from under many pupils of the student body of Milford Twp about ten o'clock Friday night 12 Sept 1958 on the gravel road just a half mile north of the Milford Twp School. Forty three of the forty six students in high school at Milford Twp were on the hayracks which were hitched tandem behind a tractor driven by a former student, Bob Jacobson `57. Also on the tractor with Bob were Larry Miller `56 and Harlan Hanson of Roland, who, ironically, was the owner of the car that hit the hayracks.
In addition, there were four teachers and three of their spouses on the hayrack ride returning to the school following a picnic at Soper's Mill. The `49 Ford barely missed hitting the tractor, sideswiped the front trailer and hit the front left of the rear trailer very solidly and knocked it into the ditch on the west side of the road and dumped the students on the gravel road.
Almost unbelievably there were no fatalities, but several of the people most seriously injured, still, nearly fifty years later, carry physical scars of the incident.
Eight people were taken to the hospital with injuries. One of the eight was the driver of the car, a former student at Milford Twp School. The other seven were Norene Hughes, Margaret Haugland, Ronnie Sorem, Dixie Thomas, Janice Radabaugh, Karen Petersen, and Linda Carsrud. Linda Carsrud was transferred to the Ames Hospital after emergency treatment at Nevada. The other seven stayed at the Nevada Hospital. Four of the injured- the driver of the car, Karen Petersen, Dixie Thomas, Janice Radabaugh- were released during the first weekend following the incident. Ronnie Sorem was released after five days or so but continued to recuperate at home for a matter of five to six weeks. Linda Carsrud was released from the Mary Greeley Hospital following a 12 day stay in the hospital where she underwent care for her compound fracture of her left leg.
Norene Hughes was the next one released --well over a month following the accident while Margaret Haugland was the last of the injured to be released.
The next day this big story was on the front page of the Des Moines Register.
Ol' Milford Farmer observe: Few ever say, `it's only a game', when their team is winning.
Census began in 1856 when Milford Twp had not been officially founded. Milford Twp was founded in 1858 and most of the population was in the Pleasant Grove portion of the township and some in the very southeast portion.
1856- listed as a portion of Franklin Twp 1860 =145 1863 =171 1865 =232 1867 =334 1869 =433 1870 =503 1873 =589 212 students in 8 schools. 1875 =636 All nine schools in place by 1875 1880 =799 1890 =732 287 students 1900 =828 The apex year-35 families with 6 or more kids. 1910 =745 1920 =677 Consolidation of the nine schools' areas 1921 = 202 students see page 168 1922 =150 students started at the new site. (8 hacks) 1925 =628 New School occupied in March of 1924 1927 = Fall 191 students 1928 = Fall 206 students 1930 =782 1936= 168 Students, 93 boys, 75 girls 1932 = 212 students; 88 girls, 124 boys 1939 = 172 studens 1940 =677 1942= 157 students with 52 in High School 1945= 125 students; 41 in high school 1950 =754 1952 156 students; only 13 girls in high school 1956 =184 Students from age 5-21 1960 =676 Milford Twp High closed 1961 1970 =589 1980 =518 1990 =399 only 75 secondary students and 40 veterans 2000 =569 which includes 128 youngsters ages 5-17. 2010 =553 Only 31 students from Milford attend Nevada. This figure, 553, includes the trailer court near the Dayton Park corner and the new housing addition along the west tier of Milford Twp.