Our community, in 1854, was virgin prairie covered by tall grass. The grass in many places was tall enough to hide large animals. In the fall terrific prairie fires raged across the country. The only trees were located along the streams. There was no protection on the open prairie when the winter blizzards came.
Horatio C. Wickham came to central Iowa in September, 1855, to buy land. He stated that he came from Ithaca, New York, to Dubuque, Iowa, by train. He traveled by stage from Dubuque to Iowa City. Then he traveled on another stage to Fort Des Moines.
Horatio procured government plats from the land office at Fort Des Moines. He hired a surveyor and a horse and buggy. He came to our community and selected land in Section 10.
Horatio said that the prairie was beautiful during the spring and summer. It was a vast sea of grass and flowers. There were large flocks of geese, ducks, prairie chickens, and smaller birds. There were also small herds of deer and elk.
Some of our early pioneers reported seeing an occasional bear. Wolves howled at night. However, we found no evidence in the records of any buffalo in this area.
The prairie was dotted with countless ponds. There were no roads in the 1850's. Early settlers gradually established safe trails around the ponds.
Many open country pioneers moved to the timber in the winter for protection from the blizzards. Illinois Grove was the nearest timber for the pioneers in our community.
Land was usually plowed one year and planted the next. The first plowing turned up huge chunks of sod and the best way was to let the sod rot. Some pioneers could not wait that long for a crop. So they cut holes through the sod and planted the crop. Later they plowed the remainder of the field.
The supervisors of Story county approved the formation of Lincoln township on June 6, 1866. Any other legal steps necessary after that date were mere formalities. I mention the possibility of further legal steps because Allen's history of Story county gave the year, 1867, as the year Lincoln township was formed.
The following story of the approval of a new township called, Lincoln, has been taken from the official minutes.