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Milford Township and Proud of It

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CHAPTER I
A Timeline About the
Development and Demise
of Milford School
Milford Twp Land Surveyed June 1847
Milford Twp is Founded in 1858

Milford township was apparently named by Solomon Young who had settled in Story County before 1856 in the Pleasant Grove area. He had come from Milford Township in Somerset County Pennsylvania. At a meeting at the court house or, perhaps at the home of J.H. Keigley, in early 1858, when the township of Milford was separated from Franklin Township and Nevada Township, he apparently suggested the name and was supported in this suggestion by George Sowers, one of settlers from 1853, and others- and so it was.

The population of Milford Twp started its growth mainly in the northwest corner in the Pleasant Grove area which offered the protection and comfort of the woods and the water power for a mill. European settlers moved into Milford Twp in the early 1850's and by 1856 there were enough settlers in this area of Pleasant Grove that any following settlers found it necessary to purchase land from original settlers. Milford Township was founded in 1858 and by 1862 Milford Township had but 28 dwellings. (For a discussion of the Soper's Mill, see an article beginning on page 49) See pages 271 and 305.

Perhaps the earliest school for the folks of the very northwest corner of Milford Twp was a log structure near the center of Sec 19, east of the river, in Howard Township. This was the, now little known, Poverty School in Starvation Hollow. Hack Horness and Rhiner Honderd (long term residents of the northwest corner of Milford Twp) spoke of this school occasionally. Hack and Rhiner spoke of it as though it stood somewhere near the "H" tree but actually it was a mile and a half north of there in the middle of Sec 19 in Howard Township. It was built in 1855 as the first public school in the area and was the school of use for youngsters far up and down the river. It was also used as a place for all kinds of meetings in the area with attendance often far exceeding its ability to hold all those interested in hearing the speakers.

Some of the young people of northwest Milford Township attended school as far south as Bloomington in the mid 1850's. (Lydia Agnes Hughes Dodds, obituary, 1847-1937; She taught at Pleasant Grove School prior to 1868 when there were 56 students enrolled there.) It has not been found exactly when Pleasant Grove School and Milford School (both later subdistricts) were founded, but a reasonably accurate estimate would be that one was in operation by 1858 and the other by 1860. There was a school located on the J.H. Keigley property in 1857, but as this school was on the west side of the Skunk River, which would have occasionally been a formidable obstacle at that time, it is not known if any Milford students from east of the river attended this school.

By 1869 there were three schools in Milford Twp, all in the northwest corner of the township. These were all of frame construction. (The brick structure at Pleasant Grove wasn't built until 1884 or 1885) The others were the Blackberry school located two miles east of Pleasant Grove and the original Milford School which was a frame structure located two miles south of Pleasant Grove in the very southeast corner of Sec 18. (This was to become the famous Randau School in the late teens when the consolidation petitions and votes were occurring. Randau School- No.4, coupled with the Tarman School-No. 7, were the prizes in court battles)

After a fashion, the location of these three schools was unexpected as one of the very first school districts formed in Story County in the late 1850's was of 16 square miles with the center of this school district in the very southeast corner of Milford Twp.

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© 2012 Mark Christian
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