Big Grove Township Pioneers

Text excerpts taken from a clipping "Early Pioneers Settled in Big Grove Township", by Kathryn Worley, dated Aug 4, 1946, unknown newspaper.

Early farm families, some of whom had originally settled in Indiana and Ohio, came to the Johnson and Linn County line in 1838 and settled on a section of country later known as Fackler's Grove, which extends into both counties.

The Lingles, the Facklers, the Durrows, the Startzers, the Eppenbachs, the Fuhrmeisters and the Upmeiers came to the north end of Big Grove township in Johnson county and part of their claims extended over the county line into Linn County.

These early German families brought their teams and plows, accompanied by their neighbors, broke the land, and chopped in sod corn, potatoes, squashes and pumpkins for their first crops.

With all their worldly possessions, including 27 teams of horses and 27 cows, the Thomas Lingle and Valentine Fackler families came from Zanesville, Indiana, first to Cedar County, then moving on to the grove which bears the name of Fackler's Grove.

Being a miller by trade, Thomas Lingle built a two-story grist mill on the stream called Hoosier Creek. Another stream, Lingle Creek, just above where the mill stood, ran into Hoosier and the water from the two streams furnished necessary power to operate a flour mill. The mill was in full swing by 1839. In the early 1850's the Riddle family purchased the mill from Thomas Lingle and lived on the farm that adjoins for three generations.

David Durrow and his family settled in Big Grove Township just across Lingle Creek on the north side.

Rudolph Startzer moved into the grove in 1841 and married into the Fackler family. Startzer followed hunting for a number of years and he and his brother-in-law, David Miller, were said to have killed 63 wolves in one fall season.

The George Streams and the Christopher Fuhrmeisters settled in northern Big Grove Township in the early forties. Fuhrmeister staked a claim as early as 1838 then returned to Germany for his family. In 1856 Christopher Fuhrmeister gave land for the Evangelical Lutheran church [This congregation later moved to Ely and is now Ely's St. John's Lutheran church].

Descendants of the William Upmeier family who came by team in the late 1840's still live on the farm land in Big Grove township. William came from Germany and entered land with the government in 1846. [This farm is widely known as Upmier Stables.]

The Jacob Hieber family came from Germany, traveled down the Ohio River to the Mississippi and up to Muscatine, then to Big Grove Township.