Oto although the last to be constituted, was one of the first to be settled, it being a portion of Little Sioux township, and retaining that connection till the passage of the following order of the supervisors, November 12, 1884: "All of township eighty six, range forty three, be and is hereby formed into a new township, to be called Oto township."
The lay of the country in Oto is the same as in the parent township, Little Sioux. The surface is rolling and much broken, especially along the section bordering on the river, but the soil is rich and highly productive, corn, wheat, oats (and fruit in limited quantity) are easily and profitably raised. The three first products, as well as potatoes, are the principal crops. Cattle and hogs, also, form a great source of revenue, many being shipped from Oto and Smithland, the two railroad stations most convenient to the township. The scenery along the Little Sioux valley is, like that of the other townships which lie in that beautiful section, very fine. Hill and dale and stream unite to make a charming outlook. Many creeks and branches are scattered all over the township, furnishing water in abundance, whilst springs are to be found in numbers, some of them being large, especially one on the Grant. Timber is more plentiful here than in the eastern or western townships. There is red oak, burr oak, good walnut, elm, hackberry, box elder, maple and basswood. The streams are full of fish, and have always afforded fine sport. There are still many aquatic animals along the Little Sioux river and the larger creeks, but formerly, when the white men first came in, beaver, otter, mink and other game of value were to be had in abundance, and many a settler lived off of the proceeds of his sale of the pelts of these animals. There was one bird that was seen in the early days, and which remained for many years afterward, but which has now disappeared from northwestern Iowa, that was admired for it peculiarities. This was the American kite, or forked tail hawk. Very rarely is one now seen sailing along high in air in Woodbury county. He was in size about that of the common chicken hawk. The head white and wings glistening bluish, body black with white under the body. The tail is beautifully forked, and they sail in a peculiarly graceful manner moving the tail slowly and regularly. Skimming along with a curved motion, they would suddenly, without any apparent reason for it, tumble over and over, and then resume their flight. The larger animals have, of course, all disappeared, but as late as 1858, a moose track was seen by Wesley Turman and Alexander Elliott Elk were originally plentiful, and Turman and the other hunters brought down many of those graceful and powerful animals. Buffaloes were occasionally seen, a stray one or two that had wandered down the ravines and bottoms along the streams from the northward. There are good sand and gravel deposits at various points in the township, and fine deposits of clay, which is utilized in the manufacture of brick. Pottery clay can be obtained by going a little deeper than the brick clay, but it is not utilized to any extent as yet. There are indications of coal, especially along Fern creek. Oto is distinguished in having more surface outcropping of rock, or at least more drift rock, than any other section of the county. There is a true bowlder, one of the northern visitors brought down during the glacial epoch, one that became stranded, and could not get away when the ice melted and the waters subsided. It is on Fern creek and measures four feet across. It is not entirely rounded, showing that it did not come from more than a few hundred miles northward. Another rock, a drift specimen, projects from the side of a hill and is much larger than the bowlder mentioned.