This is part 1 of an article published in the Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin no. 263 (Fall 2012). Permission to reproduce it here has been given by the author, Brother Leo V Ryan. C.S.V. and by Dr William Dall, Editor Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin. Here is a link to part 2.
The Volney, Allamakee County, Iowa post office was located “about a mile north of Smithfield, 8 or 9 miles southwest of Waterville (NE/SE Sec. 13, Franklin Twp. 96N, R5W) on the Yellow River”.  Smithfield is located on the NW, one fourth quarter, Sec. 14, Franklin Twp. and was plated February 11, 1854. It was about a mile above Volney. There was no post office in Smithfield. Smithfield was a reference point because of the Smithfield Mills which were operated by Austin Smith.  Research on the Waterville post office has been published in three issues of the Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin beginning Oct., Nov., Dec., 2010 and concluding in Jan., Feb., Mar., 2011, p. 3-9 and concluding in April, May and June, 2011. 
The Village of Volney lies within the boundaries of Franklin Township which was established by the Allamakee County Courts, with the east and west side boundary two miles further east than they are presently. On March 28, 1855, the west one third of Township 96, Range 5 was transferred from Post Township and added to Franklin Township. On February 4, 1856, the west one-third of Township 96, range 4 was assigned to Linton Township. Both of those decisions about the 96N area of Volney were ordered by the Courts to allow the boundaries to conform to the Congressional Township Lines. 
The earliest history of Volney was described by W. E. Alexander in his 1882 History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties Iowa. He wrote that “Volney, on the eastern line of Franklin Township was laid out by Samuel and Margaret Briggs, February 12, 1856, in accordance with a survey made the previous October . Thos. Crawford, J.P., made the acknowledgement. We [W.E. Alexander] have not been able to ascertain the date of the first settlement.” 
Ellery M. Hancock essentially repeated W.E. Alexander text about the establishment of Volney but added that “There had been a settlement here for some years prior to this , and a post office was established in February 1852.” Continue reading