Norwalk Township

From the 1882 & 1907 Pottawattamie County Histories

Norwalk Township was organized June 6, 1873, and named such by Mr. R. Foote, in honor of Norwalk, Conn., where he formerly resided. It is bounded on the north by Neola Township, on the west by Hazel Dell Township, on the south by Hardin Township, and on the east by York Township. The central portion of the township is drained by Mosquito Creek and its tributaries, and Keg Creek crosses the southern corner.

Although the area was originally settled by the Mormon people who later emigrated to Utah, numerous additional individuals arrived between 1845-1850 and decided to make the township their home. Among the prominent early settlers was Ezekiel Downs who came in 1845 and settled on Mosquito Creek. It was upon this site the first sawmill and flouring mills were begun by his family.

On examining the early maps of Pottawattamie County, the words, “Downsville Post Office” will be seen plainly marked in the southwest corner of Norwalk Township. Its name, “Downsville,” is in honor of the village which bore that name and represents the influence of the early Downs families who struggled to inhabit the area.

The town of Underwood was started simultaneous with the advent of the Rock Island Railroad and by 1907 had seen a continual growth. (In 2014, it is a flourishing rural community just north and east of Council Bluffs via Railroad Highway or Interstate 80) At the turn of the century, Underwood boasted three general stores, one drug store, two hotels, one restaurant, one meat market, one lumber yard, a livery stable, a machine shop, blacksmith shop, harness shop, shoe and harness repair shop, a creamery, two elevators, a bank, two barber shops and a cement block factory.

The town also had two churches, German Lutheran and Latter Day Saints, a Modern Woodmen and Royal Neighbors lodges, a school with over one-hundred and thirty pupils, the established township officers of: Trustees, K. W. Klopping, Henry Bensen and William Whitney; clerk, W. F. Schmaedicke; justices of the peace, E. f. Schroeder and C. d. Langfeldt; constable, George Keso; and assessor, F. Lee Johnson.


  • Settlers: 1845-1850, Joseph Holman, Ezekiel Downs, William Cox, William Hendrix, Johnson Lane and William Yocum. 1851, Asa Downs (son of Ezekiel)
  • Mills: 1847 – Ezekiel Downs and Mr. A. Smith.
  • School: 1863-4, taught in a log cabin built by the farmers
  • Teacher: Miss Jane Davis
  • Churches: German Lutheran & Latter-Day Saints
  • Postmaster: James Golden followed by Mr. C. Fleck
  • Railroads: Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, and Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul
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