OFFICERS OF THE PIONEER ASSOCIATION FOR 1872-3_
President, JAMES H. CLAYTON.
Vice President, S. D. FELLOWS.
Secretary, ED. GODDARD.
Treasurer, C. E. YEAGER.
Farmington—EOBERT GRAY, Mrs. M. H. COOLEY.
Bonaparte—E. N. CRESAP, Mrs. R. N. CRESAP.
Harrisburg—CHAS. McDONALD, Mrs. W. H. ALEXANDER.
Cedar—WM. C. MORRIS, Mrs. W. W. WATSON.
Vernon—W. P. L. MUIR, Mrs. AARON THATCHER.
Henry—S. S. HENRY, Mrs. OWEN TUTTLE
Washington—C. W. COWLES, Mrs. J. D. SANFORD.
Union—JOHN S. SKINNER, Mrs. ROSS CALHOUN.
Lick Creek-R. B. RUTLEDGE, Mrs. SAMUEL GOULD.
Van Buren—G. C. DUFF1ELD, Mrs. O. STANNARD.
Des Moines—CHARLES STOTTS, Mrs. JACOB SILVER.
Jackson—CALEB ISENHOWER, Mrs. JOHN CASSADY.
Chequest—IRA CLAFLIN, Mrs. SAMUEL STANNARD.
Village—JONATHAN NELSON, Mrs. CHAS. GARDNER.
ADDRESS. Mr. President: I never accepted an invitation to address the people with more sincere pleasure than that which asked my presence at this time. And this not because I felt I had anything of interest to say, but because I wanted to see you all once again. I felt an anxiety to take by the hand some of those who had laid out the towns, established the schools, built the churches, made the paths, tilled the farms, blazed and staked the claims, endured the privations, and led me by the hand when I so much needed help in this good old county. I knew I should see and meet the fathers and mothers at whose homes I had rested in the heat of summer and storms of winter—those persons who lived in the cabins and huts of the early days and there learned those lessons of economy and thrift amid the stern realities of their new western homes, which have given tone, consistency, and manhood to their maturer years —and their children, too, who, having the advantages of the so-called advancing civilization, honor their parents, themselves, their country, and the State. I felt that I should meet the old and the young—those of the first and later years—old friends and new—and therefore, I repeat, I was glad to come, and now here, I am still glad of it. In passing around and receiving once again the hearty shake of the hand, the glance of your good friendly eyes, receiving and giving the hearty God bless you, I feel as much at home as ever in my life, and thus I trust it is with all. You see and meet each other, talk over old times not unlike soldiers separated for years, fighting their battles over again, and making new resolves and laying new plans for the future. Such meetings, if enjoyed in the right spirit, cannot but be productive of good. The heart never reverts to its early true life .
without benefit. We never meet those who trod with us the paths of
hardship and privation, without a feeling of renewed devotion to duty and
forming higher aims for the future. We never are led back to the days when life
to us was almost if not quite an experiment without deriving from the retrospect
lessons of advantage for that which is still ours to enjoy and improve. And thus
impressed I greet you and in this feeling I know you meet. Be it yours and mine
in some humble or other manner to contribute to the pleasure and profit of the
meeting that all may return to their homes feeling that it was good for us to be
here. But in accepting the invitation I knew I should not only have the pleasure
of meeting you, but that I must say something, for this is in the programme.
Now what shall it be? The difficulty is not so in finding something to talk
about as in the vastness of the field, culling such material as may best suit
the occasion. I fear I shall fail, but I know your generous natures. You have
forgiven me many times, and hence with less hesitation I enter upon my work. And
first let me look for a moment to the political or legislative history of the
State and county. The territory now covered by the State of Michigan was a part
of the Northwest Territory, and hence subject to the Ordinance of 1787. In 1802
Ohio was admitted as a State and Michigan, before a part of Ohio, was annexed
or made a part of the Indiana Territory and so continued until constituted a
Territory to itself in 1805, and in 1818 all the country north of the present
State of Indiana and Illinois was annexed thereto. Running now south a moment,
we see that Louisiana was ceded to the United States in 1803. This was divided
in 1804 into the government of Orleans and of Louisiana. In 1812 Louisiana was
changed to Missouri and all the country north of the present State of Louisiana was called by this name (Missouri).
In 1834, however, Iowa was placed under the jurisdiction of the Territory of Michigan. That State was admitted in 1837 and we then constituted a part of Wisconsin, having become such by the act of April 20,1836, organizing that Territory and detaching it from Michigan.
In 1838 (June 12), Iowa was made a separate Territory, and a new government inaugurated at Burlington July 4th of that year. Our Territorial lines extending north from the State of Missouri and between the two rivers (Miss. and Mo.) to the British Possessions. Robert Lucas, of Ohio, was the first Governor; Win. B. Conway, first Territorial Secretary; Charles Mason, Chief Justice, and Joseph Williams and Thomas S. Wilson. Associates. Our Territorial existence continued until 1846, when on the 28th of Dec. of that year we were finally admitted as a State, being the 16th admitted under the Federal Constitution and the 29th in the Union of States.
It is believed the first settlements in what is now Iowa were made in 1788 near Dubuque, by Julian Dubuque. a Canadian Frenchman (but spoken of as a miner of the mines of Spain), he having obtained about that time a grant of a large tract of land including the present city of Dubuque. Upon this he built a small fort; and engaged in mining and trading with the Indians until his death in 1810. Substantially this settlement' was then abandoned, and aside from the occupation of military posts at Forts Madison and Armstrong there .were no settlements, amounting to the name, hardly until in 1833 when they commenced at Burlington and near there and other points on the Mississippi. Of those outside of the county I do not propose to speak, for my time will not permit, and of those in it I shall speak hereafter.
I have spoken of the first Governor, Secretary, and Judges. And in the same connection I may state that . . .
the first Territorial Legislature convened in Burlington on the 13th of Nov. 1838. General Jesse B. Brown of Lee county being President of the Council, and Win. H. Wallace of Henry, Speaker of the House. Our county was represented in the Council by Isham Keith and Gen. E. A. M. Swazey, and in the House by Capt. Jas. Hall, Dr. Gideon S. Bailey, and Sam'l Parker—the two latter surviving their colleagues—the last in Oregon and the Doctor still in your midst, as perpendicular in all his notions, religious, political, and constitutional, as ever. But I shall have the pleasure of referring to him again. In the second session of the Territorial Legislature the same gentlemen represented the county in the Council, and "Uriah Biggs was substituted for Mr. Parker. Hall and Bailey at the third session succeeded Keith and Swazey, and John Whitaker, Isaac N. Lewis, and Wm. Steele were members of the House. The next session (the 4th) convened at the new Capitol (Iowa City), with the same Councilmen, and Whitaker, Biggs, and Oliver Weld in the House. Beyond this I shall not follow the first legislators.
In 1836, then a part of Wisconsin, we had but two counties, Des Moines and Dubuque—what is now Van Buren being included in Des Moines—and our population all told was 10,531. It was in this year that the county was organized—Act of Wis. Leg. Dec. 6, 1836, dividing the county of Des Moines into several counties, Van Buren being one. Farmington was fixed as the county seat. This Legislature convened at Belmont, Iowa county, Wis., Oct. 25, 1836: Henry Dodge, Governor. From Des Moines county, in Council, Jeremiah Smith, Jos. B. Teas, and Arthur B. Ingram; in House, Isaac Leffler, Thos. Bean, Warner L. Jenkins, John Box, George W. Teas, Eli Reynolds, and David R. Chance. Whether any of them were from this part of then Des Moines county, I am not advised, but I am inclined to think not.
In 1838 we had 16 counties, and a population of 22,859. In 1840, we had 18 (Jefferson and Delaware being added), and a population of 43,114. From this we have increased, as per the last census (Federal), to 1,194,020, and advanced from the 28th in 1840, the 27th in 1850, and the 20th in 1860, to the 11th State in population in the Union, the greatest increase, commencing in 1844-5 and continuing with a marked regular ratio to this time. In all other respects the growth of the State has been equally gratifying. The property, as shown by the assessment lists, from a very few millions in.1838—and in 1854 only about seventy-five millions—to now more than three hundred and fifty millions. In 1840 but a small part of the now State was held by the Government —less sold to actual settlers,—now the Indian title is entirely extinguished and almost the entire area owned by individuals. Then a large portion—a very large portion—of what we consumed was brought from abroad. Now we export largely more than is consumed.
Then we were without school houses, for we were without a school system. The first school law was enacted July 1, 1839—Laws of 1839, p. 180. Now about 8,000 schools, and 7,600 school houses of the aggregate value of say six and three-quarter millions, with colleges and universities, and institutions for the poor and unfortunate, ranking among the highest and best in any of the States.
Then we were without railroads. Now, largely over three thousand miles, and building at the rate almost if not quite a mile a day.
Then, comparatively without churches and almost without preachers. Now we see the one in every city, town, and neighborhood, and hear the other from more than a thousand sacred desks.
Then, without trade or commerce. Now we count the same by many millions, and continually and most rapidly increasing.
And now, with such a record, with a soil so rich, advantages so great, locality so desirable, a people so energetic and enterprising, a future so full of promise, who I ask but rejects in feeling and most justly the sentiment of that author who tells us that Iowa means "The sleepy ones"? The sleepy ones indeed! Where are the "wide awakes," if we be of the sleepy crew? Rather be it that ours is the "Beautiful Land," the "Happy Land," or that we adopt that dialect which calls us "Eowah,"— rendered one "Always Home." It is the "Beautiful Land"—it must be, from feeling, interest, and hope, an "Always Home."
A part of this grand and growing West, it is no extravagant praise to say her people belong to the nobility of mankind—her destiny is to rule the world—her opportunity is not far in the distant. Her triumph, when it comes, will be complete. The west is to be the dictator of the Republic. For such a State, for such a land, for the country of which it is so glorious a part, let us feel the devotion of a child—"the admiration of an enthusiast, the veneration of a worshipper, the homage of a disciple, and the unbounded gratitude of a citizen."
Turn we now from the State to the county. And here I desire to say that I shall doubtless fall into errors. I have written many letters, received many replies, conversed with scores of old settlers, and made every effort to get at the exact facts. If in any case I misstate dates or fail to do justice—as I fear I shall, for my informants have not always agreed—I will esteem it a favor to have my attention called to the matter after I conclude.
I have said that the first real settlements in the State commenced on the
Mississippi, at and near Burlington and other points, in 1833. About the same
time, perhaps as early as 1832—certainly soon after the close of the Blackhawk
war—Capt. Wm. Phelps and Peter Avery crossed the country from Lewiston on the
Illinois . . .
river to establish a trading post on the Des Moines river. It is believed that they arrived at their destination in November 1832. Avery spent the winter of 1832-3 opposite the site of what was Philadelphia, now Kilbourne, at the mouth of Lick Creek.
Abel Gralland and Wm. Jordon, in the spring of 1833, settled at Farmington ; and Wm. Avery (brother of Peter) and James Jordon, the same spring, established a small trading post at the mouth of the stream before named (Lick creek)'; and James Lamb (who afterwards, it will be remembered, was among the first of those who made the overland trip to Oregon,) in 1834 settled just above where Kilbourne now is. The same year, or at least about this time, James Alfrey—still living but quite feeble—came to Farmington and found there and in that vicinity, in addition to those above named, John Tretwell, John Denny, Zeke McCarty, John Maxwell— Father Alfrey being the only survivor. Soon thereafter we find the Swazeys, Houghtons, Crows, Henry Bateman, John Newport, H. Gr. Stuart, Tilford Reed, Wm. Brattain, and above there on the river, Dr. R. N. Cresap and Samuel C. Reed.
John M. Whitaker located in Union township Feb. 14, 1836. His son Samuel V., still a citizen of the same neighborhood, was born there May 9, 1837. I am advised that he is regarded by many, and perhaps thinks himself, that he is the first white child born in the county. In the first place, this is hardly probable; for we cannot resist the belief that children were born to some of those coming in as early as 1833-4: that we could not find some Lamb or Crow, or perhaps a son or daughter of the house of Jordon or Cresap or others, if we had time to consult all the branches of the genealogical trees. Dismissing probabilities, however, I am able to state that Samuel must yield the fairly coveted honor to several others. John McCarty, a son of Ezekiel (Zeke McCarty, as he was generally called), now in . . .
Southwest Missouri, was born near Farmington in Feb. 1835. Jacob Alfrey, now living in Farmington, was born Jan. 17, 1836. Charles Johnson, son of Abington Johnson, in Feb. 1836. Humphrey Brittain, son of Wm. Brittain, Sr., now of Mt. Pleasant, June 8, 1836. Not only so, but Samuel must give way to a lady, Mrs. Lorenzo Dow Borden, of Chequest township—if I may be allowed to speak thus publicly of a lady's age,—the daughter of John Newport, before named as among the first settlers near Farmington, who dates her birth from July 31, 1836. If she or either of the others named should be present, and none others shall show better claims, the one entitled by seniority should receive a fitting post of honor, and this I doubt not they will have.
But turning back to John M. Whitaker, I desire to say that he was long one of our most esteemed and worthy citizens, serving the county for eight years in the Territorial and State Legislatures, and now residing in California, as honest and somewhat peculiar or eccentric in his habits as when we knew him in the early clays.
His companion and long time political and personal friend, before mentioned, Dr. Bailey, settled where he now is, at Vernon, June 12, 1837: crossed the first team, as he tells me, over the Des Moines river at that point, and assisted in making the first roadway up the bank on the west side. He moved into a log cabin, till then unoccupied, cutting a doorway with an axe, tramping down nettles growing inside from three to four feet high, putting down some loose boards for a floor, making a "lean-to," or shed shanty, from linn bark, for a kitchen; and thus the Doctor and his good family, as he will tell you to-day I doubt not, passed about the happiest if not the happiest year of his life, and formed acquaintances and friendships—being a gentleman of excellent ability and a leading mind—which secured him the sup-
port of his fellow citizens, in the early and later years, for places of public trust; for he was a member of the House, as I have already stated, in the 1st and 2d Territorial Legislatures: of the Council in the 3d and 4th: of the first Constitutional Convention (184-4): of the State Senate (7th and 8th Assemblies), and for four years U. S. Marshall, from 1844 to 1849.
And, though I may return to these personal incidents, I may be pardoned for saying just here that he who was among my earliest personal friends, and the friend of everybody for that matter, and whom I have been accustomed to think of as the "Noblest Roman of them all," Van Caldwell, settled in Bonaparte that same spring. He was a grand specimen of an old Virginia Whig, of the school of Henry Clay. He remained in town, though owning a claim one and a half mile north, until the next spring, when he removed to his improvement, which he sold in 1839 and located on the prairie above Iowaville, where as we know he lived until his death in 1856. If the county ever had a more thoroughly hospitable man: one who loved his friends better, one who loved the Old Dominion or his adopted State more, one of kinder heart or greater or truer nobility of soul, than this pioneer, I have never found him. Of tall and most commanding figure, erect as an Indian, honest and devoted to his personal friends and political connections alike, I respect his memory as a friend and almost revere his name as a child.
Judge Wm. Meek moved to Bonaparte in July 1837. The claim which he bought of Robert Moffett was made by Mr. Coats. Upon this claim is now the flourishing town of Bonaparte and the immense mills and manufacturing establishments, on which the Judge and his sons have invested more than one hundred thousand dollars, where more money has been paid out and received and which has been patronized by more persons than any establishment of the kind in the county or perhaps in the . . .
State. Dr. Cresap, as already stated, was at this point in advance of the Judge, in what is now Harrisburg township, there were R. J. Sturtevant, Giles Wells, Josiah Clifton (afterwards a member of the first State Assembly), Isham and Alexander Keith, James Baker (at what was known as Baker's Point and the point in the county I made for in 1840, when I first crossed from Beeler's on Sugar Creek), as also Stephen and John Scott, and perhaps others not recollected by my informants. In the township and near where the Judge settled, in addition to Dr. Cresap, were Samuel and Isaac Reed, Robert Moffett and his father, Win. Judd, Wm. Welch (the first Recorder), James Arrowsmith, Samule House, James Jordon, Richard Cave, James and Joseph Rhodes, Baggy Nelson, John Slaughter, Joseph Robb, and doubtless others not recollected.
I am told the first child born at Bonaparte was Wm., son of R. B. Willoughby, in 1838.
Continuing this record of settlements, I find that Samuel Clayton came to the county the first of January, 1836. He was the first settler in the central part of the county west of the Des Moines, and built the first water grist-mill therein, on Chequest, not far from its mouth. Selby & Co., started their saw mill near father Clayton's on the same creek a short time before. The son of Samuel (James H. Clayton living on the old homestead still) came Nov. 14, 1836—five years to day before I did—and his brother, Henry W., the next year. Our genial, happy and well preserved friend Geo. N. Rosser, who has been twice honored by his fellow citizens with a seat in the State General Assembly made port in the same neighborhood in 1838.
The settlers in that vicinity coming next after father Clayton were John Purdom, below the mouth of Chequest and James M. Ray, (subsequently a member of the House; 6th Territorial Assembly,) Thomas Summerlin, (afterwards County Treasurer) and John G Mc-
Cutchen, above and near to, if not in what is now known as Irish Bend—this was in 1836, and during the summer Purdom sold to Peter S. Wood, John Goodwin and David A Ely.
In the spring of 1837 James Duffield, the father of John, James, George, Harry and Henry, and how many grand sons and daughters I do not know—most of them still around to respect and love him, as he deserves— settled on Chequest where he now lives, being as I am advised the first settler on the creek above the mouth, and the son above named (Henry) was born Oct. 29, 1838, the first in that locality. Of those first settling in the neighborhood the families of father Duffield and James H. Clayton alone remain. Jacob Ream, who was a member of the 4th State Assembly, Wm. Leach, John Cook and perhaps a few others coming in a year or two after are also still in the same neighborhood—while some of the others, coming about the same time, left as soon as the new purchase was open for settlement.
On Indian Creek, towards its mouth, Sheriff Nowell, to be hereafter mentioned, near him in 1836 came Irvin Wilson, James Robb, Mrs. Sewell and James Saunders. Not far from these came A. H. and J. C. McCrary and A. W. Mangrum, April 23, 1837. The same year the brother, James and father followed. And near them the same year we find Asahel Fellows, R. Dodson, Isaac and Alex. Davis, Eli and Jos. Dehart, Wm. Jordan, James and Mede Hanan, John Peterson, Thomas Gaston and others. Peter Gilles, Henry Anson and James F. McCutchen, on the river, preceded the McCrary's. John Seaman bought out Mede Hanan and Jeremiah Ellis succeeded Wm. Jordan.
Ellen—now she wife of Winfield Mavne, known so well to you all—the daughter of A. W. Mangrum, above named, was born in Sept. 1837, and Nancy—the wife of our good friend Cooley of Farmington—daughter of James McCrary, about the same time. It will be seen . . .
that our good friend Whitaker has competitors for the honor all around him.
Vernon township was so named on the motion of a Mr. Babcock, at a meeting held at the house of A. Thomas for the purpose of agreeing upon a name. This township was almost the seat of the "Missouri War." It was here that the soldiers therein were mostly trained. James Hanan, above named, a Methodist, preached about the first sermon in that neighborhood. Father McCrary, the father of James, Abner, and John, was among the first of those preaching there and in the county. He lived, as we know, to a good old age, and only a few years since passed to his home, ripe in faith and good works, and having the confidence, esteem and respect of all who knew him.
And going further up, we find in the same year, in 1838, Theodore Davis, Beden Davis, Bradford Ellis, Anderson Langford, Abner Boston, Joseph and Charles Stotts, Wm. Wrigglesforth and his son-in-law Henry Singleton; then Philester Lee, where Father Bonner now lives, James Green, Geo. Reynolds, Nicholas Warner, Jacob Smith, Jerome Briggs, Thomas Ray, Wm. Enerick, Ira Claflin, the Stuarts, and Richardsons, and Abington Johnson.
It was in Aug., 1840, that the Davises, Ellis, Turner, and others, met in Keosauqua, as was their usual custom, to shoot for beef. Ellis and Turner were the marksmen. A quarrel ensued between Turner and John Davis, which was quieted at the time. Turner lived just below Elp's Ford, on the side hills. When Davis crossed the river to go home, the quarrel was renewed. Turner shot and killed Davis, fled to Texas, and was never arrested.
Coming over to Fox, the settlements were commenced, I believe, in 1837, and we find there about that time Bushrod W. Craven, the Hales, Cassadys, Asa Blanchard, Amos Strickland, Wm. Webb, Otto Wells, Hugh . . .
and Richard Abernethy, and others; and in Chequest township I name Andrew Benjamin, Richard Wetherby, Wm. Buckles, and Mr. Taylor, as among the first, say in 1838, or about that time. The township (Chequest) was, however, first settled, according to my best information, by Samuel Swearenger—a member of 5th Territorial Assembly,—Henry Mussetter, and Lorenzo Ellis, in Sept. 1834, at what was afterwards called Green's Mill, on Chequest. In the spring of 1838 Col. Cleaves, David Corse, and Stiles S. Carpenter, made claims on what have since been known as the Goddard and Carpenter farms, and Thomas Ray on the "old camp meeting ground," farm now owned by Malachi Vinson. The exterior lines of Chequest township were run by Uriah Biggs, in the fall of 1840, and it was subdivided by James E. Freeman, in May, 1841.
Des Moines and Jackson townships, by Kent, and subdivided by Biggs.
Bentonsport was settled in 1836—or at least Giles Sullivan, Charles 0. Sanford, and Ross (who kept the first hotel), settled there that year, coming from St. Francisville, driving their teams in the river, for there were no roads. The place was named for Thomas H. Benton, the great Missouri Senator. Mr. Robinson was killed there in 1837 by Gillaspy with an axe, and Knapp was killed by Hendershott at Columbus the same year.
But we must not overlook Birmingham, which was laid out in 1839 by John Harrison. The early settlers there and in that vicinity were John Rutledge, R. B. Rutledge, Thos. Cameron, Anthony Pruett, Burk Huffman, Titus Mass, Ira Moss, Dr. Wm. Miller, Dr. John N. Norris, Semuel Plaskett, Wm. Bryant, James Christy, J. N. Crum, John Cameron—a Cumberland Presbyterian—and Robert Hawk—a Methodist—were their first preachers. The first church in Lick Creek township was called Bethel, in J. D. Robinson's neighborhood. It was of hewed logs, and all denominations, . . .
and those outside of any, assisted in its erection. The first school house was what was known as the "Union house," and built by Plasket, Crum, Rutledges, Bickford, Coleman, Pruett, and Martin, of round logs. I hazard the opinion that Dr. John N. Morris, above named, has been longer in the practice than any other physician in the county. His work in the healing art among the people of Birmingham, who, with all the county round about, esteem him so happy, commenced in 1839. (After the delivery of this address I have been advised, and it is doubtless true, that Dr. Combs, herein mentioned, of Bentonsport, commenced the practice in 1838, and has continued in it to this time. He must therefore be entitled to the honor above given to Dr. Norris.)
And having just referred to this school house, I am reminded that Miss Laura Stannard, sister of Obed Stannard and of Mrs. J. H. Bonney—afterwards the wife of A. G. Anable—taught the first school in Keosauqua, in the summer of 1839. If one was taught elsewhere at an earlier date I am not advised. This was probably the first.
Passing from Birmingham and Lick Creek township, to Portland and vicinity, I find that this town was laid out by John Tolman of Portland, Maine, in 1839, and that among the first settlers in that vicinity were John Hill, Stephen Holcomb, John and Matthew Tolman, Alex. Dunwoody, James Johnston (still living in Village township, aged 77 years), Win. C. Adams, Thomas Dodson, Joseph Dickey (afterwards one of the most active business men of the county, and who died within the last few months at Farmington), Walter Whitten, Zachariah Walker, Andrew Campbell, Jesse Belknap, Jesse Sutton, Samuel Hall, Benjamin Saylor, Drs. Cornstock, Boyer and Walker, Samuel Martin, Jonathan and Isaac Nelson, Joel and Peter Avery, Eliab and David Doud, and Josiah Allison. The first school house in . . .
that vicinity was built on the farm of Walter Whitten, in 1842. The Jones school house, four miles southeast, still standing, was built about the same time, and the same year a school house was built near the old site of Business Corner. The first church was Mt. Moriah, in 1844. The first ministers in that locality were John Hill and John Bond—Baptists—and Cartwright Kirkpatrick and John Starr—Methodists. The first marriage was Nancy, the daughter of John Hill, to Louis LaPlant.
In addition to what I have elsewhere said about Farmington and vicinity, I deem it proper to add that Abel Galland took claim in what is known since as North Farmington, and David Galland Farmington. David sold to Bateman and E. T. Holmes for cloth (jeans) for a suit of clothes. The town was laid out by Bateman. In addition to those before named, Dr. R. D. Barton (a member of the 5th Ter. Leg.), Leman Brattain, as is said; settled in 1835. Geo. and Fred. Whittall, M. Britton, Noah Flood, M. Poole, in 1836. W H. Barton, 1837. John Petrie, Elias Beck (now residing in Wapello county), L.D. Nelson, H. Lyle, H. Heffleman, in 1838. Jesse Wright, L. King, Jacob Rhodes, Orville Stoddard, David Kelly, Dr. S. G. Meek, E. T. Colton, Adam Dickey, Sr. (who, too, was among the early preachers—Methodist—of the county), 1839. Crit. Forquerean, who afterwards figured at and about Iowaville, it will be remembered, was also among the first at Farmington, dating perhaps as early as 1835. A house built by Henry Heffleman in 1838, and now occupied by Dr. Cooly, is the oldest now standing.
Wm. Kendrick, one of the Justices first appointed, laid out Watertown across from Farmington. Jesse Wright bought him out, stopped the town, and dispersed the population. Stephen Harris and John W. Davidson settled below the mouth of Indian, and started a town called Harrisburg.
In Farmington, in 1839, a church was built of logs— used by all denominations, for schools, and for court and public business of all kinds. Of those above named (besides James Alfrey, elsewhere referred to), Geo. and Fred. Whitall, M. Pool; W. H. Bartin; L. D. Nelson, L. King, Orville Stoddard, David Kelley, Dr. Meek, are still living. It is said—but for this I cannot vouch— that the first steam mill in the State was built at this place, James F. Death proprietor.
The first celebration of the 4th of July within the county was had here in 1836, as I am advised, the oration being delivered by Win. Conchanan, the sentiments thoroughly patriotic and the occasion enjoyed to the utmost. Of course the exercises wound up with a dance, and there being no room of sufficient size or fitness, these pioneer patriots and hearty lovers of fun and good cheer appropriated the keel of a flat boat then in process of construction at the wharf of Henry Bateman, which was bottom side up, having a temporary railing and completely protected from the sun by the canvass used for other boats and the branches of trees. I am assured by a good lady who was present—Mrs. Forqurean, wife of Crittenden, pulling down 273 lbs., who moved among the less ponderous bodies to the no little detriment of Bateman's flat boat—that no dance was ever more highly enjoyed.
The first trace of which I can get any trace in this locality, according to Mrs. Alfey, was by Richard (Trick) Jones, in the double log cabin of Mr. Alfey. A part of the sermon consisted in feet washing, to which Richard professed to be expressly devoted as a part of his faith.
The first court was held in Farmington, while we were still a part of Wisconsin, April 10,1837, by Hon. David Irwin. Henry G. Stewart was then appointed Clerk; who was succeeded by Fry B. Hazletine, and he by Elisha Cutler, Jr. There was a Grand Jury, but no . . .
Petit Jury. The names of the Grand Jury were Isham Keith, foreman, Alex Keith, Samuel Clayton, Elijah Purdon, Sr., John Whittaker, Jos. Hill, Chas. H. Price, James Smart, Abington Johnson, James F. Denny, William Jordon, Obediah Cook, William Judd, Thomas Summerlin, John Moffatt, A. V. Syhawk, J. G. McCutchen, William Brattain, Sr., Abel Galland, Jacob Crow, Lewis Crow, Joseph A. Swazey, and John Palchett. This Grand Jury found an indictment against one Doose for exercising the office of constable within our territoritory under the laws of Missouri; and in this it is believed we have the first judicial assertion of our jurisdiction over a territory, afterwards the theatre of a most bloodless war, and yet fraught with the very greatest results and importance to this and every part of the State.
Isaac J. Newell, who was among the first if not the first settler on Indian Creek, was the officer who as sheriff first opened our courts and arrested those violating the law. As I said on a former occasion, Isaac carried no sword nor other insignia of office, but he had as I am advised a well tanned and closely fitting suit of buckskin, which was quite as much a terror to all evil doers and those not having the fear of the law before their eyes as the heaviest baton or loudest or most formal proclamation of "God save the court." He was succeeded by Henry Heffleman and he, as we know, by that acknowledged prince of good men, Capt. J. H. Bonney—who still lives believing in acting as he has thro' life upon the elevating maxim that "it is more blessed to give than receive." The second term was held at the same place, commencing April 14, 1838, and a petit jury empanneled to try a member of the first Grand Jury who at the first term was indicted for house breaking. The members of this jury were Thos. L. Pickett, William Minear, Thomas Keith, B. F. Anderson, James Sanders, Leonard Whitcomb, Wm. Williams, John Newport, . . .
Henry Hampton, Charles Graves, H. D. Swazey, and Robert Ewing.
The member of the legal profession first settling in the county was H. H. Buckland. He was from New England—settled at Bentonsport, and after remaining a year or more returned to his former home. Isaac N. Lewis, before named as a member of the 3d Territorial Legislature (he was also a member of the 5th), and whom we all knew so well and respect so much, was the second. He was the first attorney admitted to practice (Nov. 12, 1838,) in the county. Following him and very soon were S. W. Summers, now of Ottumwa, Richard Humphreys—dead, as I suppose, for I have heard nothing of him for years—and Oliver Weld, who died at my house in this place in Oct. 1843. He was my partner at the time of his death. I knew him well; he was an honest man, and in his death the State lost a citizen of rare ability, the profession a sound lawyer, and society one of big heart, and if eccentric, as able as eccentric.
By referring to the records of the Secretary of State, I find that on the 9th of January, 1839, Gen. E. A. M. Swazey was appointed Brig. Gen'l of the First Brig., 1st Div. of the Territorial Militia. Many of you remember the times and scenes when, on the Utica prairie, the General, with Col. Giles Wells, Maj. Henry King, Capt. Finess Killebrew, and other officers, marshalled their forces and had those remarkable and most imposing regimental trainings.
On the 18th of the same month the Gov. appointed the following Justices of the Peace for the county: Wilson Stanley, Sewell Kenney, John Cochran, Thomas J. Cox, David Tade, James Robb, Silas Stone, James Moffett, James E. Rickey, John Whittaker, John Groom, Robert Gardner, Benj. B. Throop, Martin A. Britton, William Kendrick, Sam. C. Reed, George Reynolds, William Miller, Jesse Sutton, Alexander Woods, Joel . . .
Knight, David Casebar, John Marshall, Bushrod W. Cravens, and John Taylor. Of these, but five or six are living, and but two—Rickey and Woods—now residents of the county. I tried cases before seven or eight of these expounders of the law, after coming here, and I knew most of the others. I think I can say that the selections were most judicious, and few citizens or officers then or since have commanded more general respect or esteem.
The first Recorder was William Welch, and the first instrument of record in that office is a "quit claim" deed, from William Clift, dated Feb. 23, 1837, to Joseph A. Swazey and Vincent M. Jones, the consideration $350—premises on Des Moines river, between the claims of E. A. M. and H. D. Swazey and T. A. Martin, as I infer from subsequent knowledge of the parties near Farmington, but there is nothing in the deed to indicate definitely either the location or the size of the premises. This deed was filed for record March 20, 1837, and witnessed by E. A. M. Swazey and H. King. The oldest instrument, in date, of record, however, is a bond from J. T. Holmes and Henry Bateman to John Crow, dated August 25, 1836, and filed for record Nov. 6, 1837, for lot 5, block 3, in Farmington. This, as you will observe, was before the land sales; for Farmington, it is proper to say, like many of the towns of the west, was laid out, lots sold, and improvements made long before the government title was obtained. With faith in the government, full of enterprise and "go- aheadativeness," with a spirit of adventure and pluck, fortunes were made and lost on mere promises and hope; and thus the pioneers of this rich valley and the west generally invited emigrants and rapidly developed its resources. It will be found that the first warrantee deed of record is for lots in Pittsburg, from Abiather Buck, Williams and wife, and John Groom and wife, to Lemuel Mussetter, while the oldest deed of the kind is . . .
from David Taylor to Edward Nance, for 20 acres in sec. 32, tp. 69, R. 8 (Harrisburg), dated Nov. 22, 1838. Abram Foster made the first entry of land, his entry being Oct. 2, 1838 (97 acres in sec. 6, tp. 69, R. 10— Van Buren), and he was followed on the 5th of Oct., 1838, by Robt. J. Sturdivant, of 160, in 35, 69, 8—Harrisburg. I believe my friend has been entering or buying land ever since, until now he has more land and more children than any man in his township or almost in the county.
During the same month (Oct. 1838), James F. Westcott entered the quarter section adjoining Keosauqua, which to this day is known as the Westcott quarter, and upon which Mr. Funk, Mr. Myers, Judge Strickland, Gen. Gebhardt, and others now reside. James Bell made his entry of his farm in Washington township the same month. When he crossed the Des Moines river at Keosauqua, a few months before with his family, he borrowed money from Capt. James Hall, as I was informed by the Capt. himself, to pay his ferriage, and he thus reached his claim without a cent in money but with pluck and courage that carried him through. James N. McCutchen, Thomas Anson, Peter Gillis, and Thomas Beer bought their lands in this township the same month.
In Cedar township, Samuel Huddleston; in Union, John M. Whittaker; in Farmington, Richard Cave, William Williams, James Rhodes, John Newport; in Vernon, Alexander Davis (whose wife hauled the rails with one horse to fence the improvement while he split them), Nahum Sargeant; in Des Moines, Delaney Dillingham; in Jackson, William and Jonathan McClure, William Brooks, Martin Tate, George Reynolds, and John Cantrel; in Village, Riley Gilbert and John D. Walker; in Lick Creek, Wm. S. Whittaker and Hiram Hill; in Chequest, Stiles S. Carpenter, Sylvester Riley, and Asheel Lane, made among the first entries.
Today but one 40 (n. e. qr. s. e. qr., 20, 69, 11—Chequest —belonging to the B. & M. R. R. Co.) remoins unsold. The last tract entered was s. hf. n. e. qr. 11, 67, 9, (fr. Vernon) by Sargeant Currier.
There was no newspaper published in the county until the summer of 1843, when was started the Iowa Democrat and Des Moines Miner Intelligencer, a most imposing name, and contrary to what the title would imply, it was neutral in politics. The proprietors were Jesse M. Shepherd and John L. T. Mitchell, both now of the Pacific Slope. James Shepherd, the father of Jesse, as we know, the veteran of the press in the Valley (whom we all know, bless his good honest heart, as Father Shepherd, or Squire Shepherd—for he was Justice here so long that we did not think that we could have any one else, and who I am pleased to learn has taken a new lease on life*) came in due time. The neutral character of the paper did not suit him—he took charge, lifted it from the mire, and took his stand on what he esteemed the more solid ground of Democracy and its after life was given to that cause.
And speaking of Democracy, reminds me that parties began to take shape in the
Territory in 1840. Prior to this but little attention was paid to the political
preferences of candidates, as witness the election of Esquire Keith
and General Swazey to the first Council—both Whigs—while Bailey and Barker, in
the House, were both Democrats, and their colleague—Hall—a Whig. It was in 1840
that our Democratic friends in the county were called upon to rally by that man
of irrepressible and versatile genius, John Carnes, known then and somewhat
since as Pious John, and rally they did. An organization was effected, and soon
those figuring lived to enjoy the fruits; and others, I remember, as for instance the so-called Union Year of 1842, when Bailev . . .
*Just married a new wife.
and Whittaker were defeated for the Council by Elbert and Jenkins, Bonney by Lyon for Sheriff, to say nothing of others—were occasionally led to. realize that a dominant party is not always successful under the most vigorous party drill. That year of 1842, by the way, was about my first active recollection of a political contest. It was peculiar, it will be remembered by the voters, some of whom I see here to day, as having a so-called religious element in it. Dr. Bailey, Capt. Bonney, Ezra M. Jones, and their colleagues on the Democratic ticket, we hungry Whigs styled the infidel party. Many amusing incidents might be related. I remember one in connection with A. J. Davis, who was known as a most indefatigable worker in politics as everything else. While talking with John Workman, a Democrat and a Methodist, who lived on the place where Uncle Isaac Barker lived so long, Davis warned Barker of the danger to the cause of holiness if such infidels were elected, and finally concluded by saying that he be damned if our holy religion was not in danger if the Democrats succeeded.
In addition to what I have said elsewhere of clergymen, we may appropriately enough perhaps turn from such incidents to matters clerical. Among the preachers of the early days, I remember Bryant, Hank, Summers, Arrington, and Shinn, of the Methodist; Bell, and the two Rankins (uncle and nephew), of the Presbyterian; and Post, of the Baptist church. The first place, of which I can get any trace, named or appointed for preaching is "Des Moines, four miles above Farmington, at Samuel C. Reed's." While I am without any positive evidence that he preached there, I think it more than probable that Rev. J. M. Jamison, appointed by the Missouri conference, did fill that appointment. If he did not, it is almost certain that Rev. L. B. Slater, who succeeded him, not only filled this appointment but soon afterwards also preached at his father-in-law's, . . .
Elijah Purdom, who settled first above Keosauqua in 1836. Father Purdom was a Kentucky Methodist— his home was a home .for all preachers, however. He loved his family, his home, and his church. Departing this fife in 1848, respected and esteemed by all, he sleeps in the old grave yard dedicated by him to the town. He brought up a large family, and they are now scattered in the States and Territories west of us to the Pacific. Beyond this and what I have elsewhere said, I cannot speak more definitely of the early ministers, nor state with greater certainty who preached the first sermon in the county, nor where it was preached. And thus I am compelled to leave the account, after much correspondence and examination.
Although there are many other matters, statistical and otherwise, to which I would like to refer, I am admonished that I am detaining you too long, and must hasten to a conclusion.
I have purposely omitted any reference to Keosauqua and its settlement, for the reason that I told what I knew on that subject in an address before its Library Association March 4, 1856, and as the collection and preservation of facts connected with the early settlement of the county is one object of the association, that being published can be used, and I have hence for the most part devoted my attention to other localities. To other towns and neighborhoods and individuals I should with pleasure have referred, if I had been successful in gathering the material, or if time permitted. Indeed I feel that I am not to be excused for passing over many others. Thus I should like to refer at length to my early and warm friend, Isaac N. Lewis, who had so much to do with laying the foundations; who struggled with the rest of us amid the trials of a frontier life; and who, to use his own energetic method of profanity, "by gum!" could do anything else but drink whiskey with the best of us. And he that, with the rest of us Isaac was . . .
accustomed to call his competitor, now Col. Summers, who it were hard to tell whether he loved congenial company, a fine horse, or a big fee, best. And to Uncle Johnny Seaman* (I wonder if he rides a "blue buck," yet?). And of Uncle Tommy Beer, honest, quaint, and ever inoffensive. And that other Uncle Tommy (Hearn), loving Maryland first and Iowa last and best. And Uncle Ira Claflin, from the land of Steady Habits, and whose habits are always steady, with his good wife with her good black eyes; and once again to Capt. Josiah Bonney, with his big heart, and by his side Orpha whom he found at Rochester when he and I were young—once more afflicting Father Stannard with a Democratic son-in-law; and Geo. W. Games, and Eliza too, who were the life of the social circle years long gone, but now, alas! the "weight of years," just a little, is upon them; and John, of the tribe of Goodall—good old Kentucky stock—among our best and truest citizens—most of them "across the River" now, the Great River—but those remaining, as were those gone, worthy and respected by all; and that enthusiastic friend and Whig, his brother-in-law, Isaac W. McManaman, who did nothing by halves, and whether at home or in a political convention, or the Legislature, by his very earnestness and whole-souled manner won the esteem and respect of all; and lip the Des Moines, just below Iowaville, that man of positive character and Baptist proclivities, Benjamin Savior, and his long line of boys, John, Conrad, Hiram, Jehu, and perhaps a dozen others, who made big farms in this and Polk counties, and who by his force of character commanded attention in all circles.
And again, the long line from near Posey county, Indiana—they of the tribe of
McCrary—James, and Abner, and John C, and their relatives and descendants —for
have they not given us Esquires, and Senators, and . . .
*Died August 5, 1873—the same day this page is printed.—Printer.
Representatives, and Sheriffs, and M. C.'s, filling all with admirable ability; and Andrew (he of altitude-— Merideth), who, with his industrious wife, the best housewife with the best home of the early days, which I shall never forget, for at their table more than once I have been cared for when tired and hungry; and that woman of marked character, the wife of Obed, who was the son of William Stannard, for she with her husband truly made their impress upon the country, and all remember them to praise; and Russo (of the royal family of Kings), who made our mills, built our houses, and at the same time builded, as he deserved, well for himself and family; and Roger N. Cresap, with that wife who has accomplished more and with more life and good humor than any one that lives—he I should not forget, for whether in Louisiana or Texas, wherever thrown by fate or fortune, he still turned to the same beautiful and rich land where he now lives as the brightest and most pleasant spot on earth; and then there is Harvey—of the long tribe of Alexanders—irrepressible in his politics, endless in his story telling, never exaggerating in the least whether on the block or off, and is still going, going, going, and will be till he's gone; and my old friend Robert Forbes, who never had but a "mere whang of apples," which meant more than all his neighbors", and who never let any poor Whig or Radical rest if he could get a chance to "punch him in the ribs"; and those pioneers of large personal, political, and social influence, Captains Hancock and Sanford; and that blessed good man, Sheriff Johnson, with his son-in-law McPherrin—twice a member of the General Assembly— and of whom to say that he is as good and honest as the father-in-law is but simple truth and no faint praise; and that fine specimen of manhood and old-fashioned Methodism, Uncle Johnny Spencer, and his good and solid neighbors, Groom and Warren; and that Democrat from Delaware, Billy Holland, and his equally . . .
jolly neighbor Onias Hale, and scores of others in the same vicinity, from the land of Rush in the much abused State of Indiana; and then too he that was among our earliest and truest men, Mark C. Thatcher, of Quaker stock, and that quiet wife of his, and their boys almost numberless, Jonathan, Isaac, Thomas, Aaron, Amos, Ezekiel, and how many more I cannot tell; and his old neighbors, whose influence was fully equal to any others in their vicinity, Lippincott, and Muir, and Burns; and Ralph, of the house of Peterson, than whom no county ever had truer men; and of course Dr. Nathan Shepherd, always fighting for the right and peddling pills; while James of the same name dealt in politics; and Benjamin F. Pearson also, who kept public house in Pittsburg at the time of the Young Mormon War there in the winter of '40 and 41, and which I shall never forget, and who did build our houses, fought for his country, and esteems Republicanism next to Methodism; and Ashahel, who went home within the last few years, who owned those rich acres just down the river from where we now are, a good citizen and his children do follow him; and Benjamin, of the numerous tribe of Barkers; and that other Barker (Esq. Joseph), who started in the woods, but woods no longer, and who has more children to love than any man in the county, for he beats Dr. Sturdivant, having; as I am told 18, the Dr. only 14; and Joel and Wesley Walker, from the land of Penn, who have had as much to do with Keosauqua and its growth as most others, perhaps any; unless it be one I should not forget, Edwin Manning, of the strong frame and marked face, rather slow of speech and movement and yet never idle, and who holds the largest purse and more lands than any other save his friendly rival Seth of the land of Bentonsport, both of them still New Englanders somewhat in manners and habits notwithstanding their many days in the West; and the neighbor of Seth, Dr. Cowles, recognized among . . .
the best physicians of the early days, and perhaps still so; and Timothy, whose other name is Day, that never tires, with energy and good sense enough to govern a nation, and who has added more, to the (stock) wealth of the county than all others; and Harvey Robb, who goes (or did) to New York, Albany, Chicago, and Philadelphia, with more cattle and hogs than any man in the county, and who if not the handsomest man is as good and energetic as many claiming better looks. (He and Squire Neal can settle the question of good looks, and if it should be a tie they might divide honors with Billy Holland, or with John R. Wright, who I know belongs to a good looking family); and that most devoted of all Methodists, Father Thomas Miller, and I must not forget him or them, James J. (the White Pigeon) and Margaret his wife, for they were the friends of everybody, good to the sick, always well and happy; and John Lyon, the man of inventive genius and whose shop and name are known all over this and adjoining counties; and that stern old Presbyterian, James A. Brown, of Bear Creek first, then of Bentonsport, could I forget him and his true friendship I should be indeed most ungrateful; and I must not pass by Samuel of the red hair—Robinson; John of Irish Bend—Parks, who has "awful" nice apples, an "awful" good farm, is an "awful" good man, and has an "awfulller" good wife; and then too his old neighbors the Johns, Steeves, Baggs, and M'Kibben; and Miner, in name merely, always old enough to take care of himself since I knew him; Easling, of the brick house in Harrison, and perhaps the first in the township; and the sons-in-law of Jacob Ream, Mussetter and Smith; and their neighbor and friend Lorenzo Ellis; and Brad. Ellis too, and his late neighbor Langford, as good men as we have; and the taller boys; and Benson and Thomas, of Farmington; John Besecker, Billy Johnson, and Geo. Huffman, of Bonaparte; and the Rutledges and Penetts—I hope . . .
they will live forever; and Esq. Win. Hackney, bless him, how he and that other good soul, Sam Merritt, used to work for old fashioned Whiggery; and Miles McSurley, who when last I met him was as jolly and hearty as ever, and I believe wealthy; and why should I forget, for I cannot, that personification of jollity and good cheer, the genial, bluff and rotund Esq. Jonathan Nelson, and his equally good brother Isaac; and from the same vicinity the Averys, and the Walkers, who always walked well in Methodist and political paths; that emphatic and truly hospitable pioneer Jordon; and Father Brewster and his well brought up family ; and Henry Anson, now gone, but his boys still among you, of good habits and growing prosperity; and Isaac W. McCarty, the politician of the first years, still of Appanoose county, able to use more tobacco than any man in his neighborhood; and Dudley Hardy, twice a member of the General Assembly; and Charles Jackson, who kept the big hotel at Utica where we had those big musters; and Father Dibble, whose name I mention with reverence, a member of the second Constitutional Convention, and a man of as clear a head and honest a heart as ever lived in this or any county; and that decided genius of irrepressible Whig faith, Samuel Holcomb, near Portland, and the large family of that name; and those pioneer preachers, Samuel Clark and Milton Jameson, possessing an unction, eloquence and power seldom found now or at any time in the State or elsewhere; and he of commanding presence, big heart, great energy and fine ability in his profession, Dr. J. D. Elbert; and those men of prowess, Amos Strickland, Theodorus Davis, John and Josephus Medley, Charles Davis, Jehiel Smith; the Billups, who knew no fear, and many of them preferring a square fight to a square meal; and those men who have performed so important a part in the well being and good name of their respective neighhoods, Barger, the Watsons and Morris's, of Cedar, . . .
Fordyces, of Union, Wells and Cassady arid Mclntire, of Jackson, Moore and
Vanfleet, of Chequest, and Henry, Dodson, Ellis and Thompsons, of Vernon; and I
should be thought most remiss if I should pass Chandler E. Yeager, whom I met at
Father Purdom's, as I remember, the first meeting I ever attended in this
place Nev. 15, 1840, who still lives to love his church and to be respected by
all; and those physicians of quick movement and great practical sense in their
profession, Ober and Barton ; and the brother of the latter, Wm. H. Barton, and
his long tried friend and associate Wm. B. Willes, who like all of us is getting
old but who believes as we should in driving dull care away; and that pioneer
Abolitionist, Charles Gardner, at Business Corner, who was as fearless in the
defence of his principles as he was straightforward in his business habits; and
his near neighbor Riley, who has gone to the old brick structure (Mt. Moriah)
regularly each Sabbath for these many years, who throttles vice wherever he sees
it, and has given to his honest father-in-law, Malachi Vinson, over on Indian
Prairie, a bevy of grand-children of which we know neither of them are ashamed;
and then again James H., the son of Samuel Clayton, before named, and his
unequalled helpmeet, and where the young people always love to go and whose
invitations to their good cheer and happy home we seniors always accept with
pleasure; and too the widow of James, who passed to his rest years long gone,
known to us all as Mother Daughrity,* the Godmother or Grandmother of all the
children hereabouts, who delights in the Offices of administering to the woes
and sufferings of others and not less in expressing her mind most freely if
necessity demands it; and Titus Moss, the father, whose benevolent face made you
love humanity; and his son Lloyd, the stillest and quietest and yet busyest man
in your . . .
*Died at her residence in Keosauqua, May 5,1873.—Printer.
county; and away over by the long known "Brattain's Grove," Joseph of the Children of Israel; and a little further away, Alexander of the Christian tribe, who, though they take radically different routes politically, agree in a friendly competition as to which shall have the tallest corn, the most wheat, and the best farms; and Father John Goddard, whose name was the synonim for honest and blunt frankness, whose children bless the name of father, and to one of whom (Edwin Goddard, Esq.) I most cheerfully acknowledge my great obligation for many of the facts herewith presented. I say, to these and scores of others whose names, faces and deeds come trooping into my mind, I should like so much to refer; but you know and I know I cannot, for I must hasten on to that conclusion which I am sure you think I should have reached long since. And with a few more words you shall have it.
I have been frequently asked, as you have doubtless, why Van Buren county has not increased more rapidly in population. I will give you one or two reasons. It is certainly not because the location is undesirable, nor yet because the soil is not fertile. But, in the first place, there is no large town or city in the county. It is emphatically an agricultural county. And, in the next place, it is a noticable fact that it filled up very rapidly at its first settlement. Thus, in 1838 it was the second county in population, having 3,174; Des Moines being first, and Van Buren being in advance of Lee or Dubuque. In 1840, it had the largest population, 6,166; Lee being next and Des Moines third. In 1844, it was third, having then over 9,000. Other counties just as large did not fill up so rapidly at first; and hence the subsequent years show a greater relative increase. This county also, it will be remembered, was the seat of empire—the Capitol, so to speak, for several years, of the far famed Des Moines Valley or Republic. Until the new settlements west of us opened up, it was the place . . .
sought for by those coming into the Territories. Then most emigrants wanted to get as far south as possible, and this was the "Eldorado." In course of time we had a country west and north, the notions of people as to climate changed, and this county did not therefore get the same proportion as at first of emigrants, nor could it retain of course all those here; and while the growth has been healthy and the advance in wealth very satisfactory, there was no room or chance for that marked increase as in other counties where the settlements were at first sparse. And yet, if you leave out the large cities in the old counties, such as Keokuk, Burlington, Davenport, and Dubuque, you will find that this county has kept pace with any other.
However this may be, it is a matter of congratulation that few counties, if any, have been better managed in its finances or had better officers. While it may not have as many miles of railway, nor endeavered by township taxation and county bonds to build railroads, neither has it as many outstanding bonds nor as many masters as some others. It may not have as expensive public buildings, nor manifest as much so-called public spirit in its improvements, yet it is a matter of pride that it had the first organized county Agricultural Society, dating back to 1841; that the county is surpassed by few in the natural advantages of coal, stone, water, and rich lands—and has never been afflicted with defaulting public officers, never been compelled to hawk its securities in the market to raise revenue, seldom has its warrants been below par, and as far as I know never a dollar lost by an officer's dishonesty. Its schools and churches have constantly increased in number, and I doubt not whether any county responded more promptly or nobly to the call of the country for the defence of its flag, or was more generous or liberal in caring for the soldier's family and children while he was in the field or after he fell in maintaining the nation's honor and . . .
unity. It has performed no small part in the history of the State.
Settled by those of every mind and ambition, it is a reflection I am sure not without its value. or importance that no county has furnished more men to occupy prominent places in the councils of the State and nation. Let me give you the list, or at least as far as it occurs to me:
Dr. G. S. Bailey, U. S. Marshall four years.
Dr. J. D. Elbert, President of the Territorial Council two sessions.
Samuel Elbert, (son), Territorial Secretary of Colorado and acting Gov. for a time—since the delivery of this address appointed Governor.
Elisha Cutler, Jr., Secretary of State two years.
Josiah H. Bonney, Secretary of State two years, and time.
Paul Brattain, Treasurer of Des M. River Improv't.
Samuel Parker, President of Oregon Ter. Council.
Edwin Manning, Com'r Des M. River Improv't for over two years.
Dr. Brainard, Member of the first Board of Education from Harrison county. in the 4th Judicial District.
J. C. Knapp, U. S. Dist. Attorney and Dist. Judge.
Augustus Hall, Member of Congress, and U. S. Dist. Judge of Nebraska. ,
C. C. Nourse, Chief Clerk H. R., Sec'y Senate, Att'y Gen'l of the State, and Dist. Judge.
J. B. Howell, U. S. Senator, and Member Claims Com.
H. C. Caldwell, Col. 3d Cavalry, and U. S. Dist. Judge in Arkansas.
B. F. Elbert, Member of H. R. from Monroe county, 13th General Assembly.
S. W. Summers, Col. of 8th Iowa Cavalry.
P. M. Cassady, Recorder of Public Monies, and Judge of State Dist.
Court, and Mem. S. Senate, Polk co.
M. Tuttle, Col. 2d Iowa Inf., Brig. Gen'l U. S. Vol., and Member Leg. 14th Gen'l Assembly.
Henry Ford, Dist. Atty. and Judge of Dist. Court 4th Jud. Dist. for ten years.
Robert Sloan, Judge Circuit Court four years, and re-nominated in the enlarged Circuit.
Warehom G. Clark, Member of 2d Constitutional Convention from Monroe county.
James B. Weaver, Col. 2d Iowa Inf., Gen'l U. S. Vol., U. S. Assessor, and Dist. Atty. .
Seth Craig, Warden of Pennitentiary.
B. B. Butledge, Provost Marshall.
N. B. Preston and John Clark, Members of the General Assembly from Monroe county.
Henry Stewart and Timothy Day, Members of State Ag. College Board, and long most prominently connected with State Ag. Society.
John W. Jones, County Judge of Hardin county, and State Treasurer for four years.
George W. Jones, Member of 13th General Assembly from Polk county.
Josiah Clifton, Member of 1st State General Assembly from Lee county.
George W. McCrary, Member of House and Senate of the State, twice elected to Congress from this Dist., re-nominated for the third term.
Edwin 0. Stannard, Lieut. Gov. of Missouri, and most prominently connected with the trade and commerce of St. Louis.
R. T. Dibble, Member of the Mo. Legislature two terms.
Delazon Smith, A prominent politician in Oregon and U. S. Senator from that State.
H. W. Sample, Com'r Des M. River Improv't, and a leader wherever he went.
John F. Dillon, Judge of State Dist. and Sup. Courts, and now Judge of U. S. Circuit Court.
Abner Kneeland, One of the Scholars and Thinkers of his day
S. T. Caldwell, A Member of the 12th and 14th Gen'l Assembly from Wappello county.
J. B. Miller, County Judge and County Auditor of Polk county.
David Ferguson, Member H. R. 9th General Assembly from Davis county.
Andrew Leach, Member H. R. 1st General Assembly from Davis county.
Israel Kisfer, State Treasurer in 1850 and 1852.
John J. Selman, Member of 2d Constitutional Convention, Senator and
President of the 1st, and Senator of the 2d Gen'l Assemblies.
George G. Wright, Senator of 2d and 3d State General Assemblies, Judge and Chief Justice of Supreme Court, and U. S. Senator.
And I add Swearingen, Skinner and Clark, ministers of prominence in their several conferences ; S. M. Clark, of fine ability as an editor; Dr. John F. Sanford, among the most celebrated surgeons of the west or the nation; S. M. Clemens (Mark Twain), who I am advised was with Messrs. Howell & Cowles when they started the Valley Whig in this place in 1848-50, but for this I will not vouch. I say I give these names, and there may be and doubtless are others, but they do not occur to me now. As far as I know the State never lost a cent by the fraud, dishonesty, or mismanagement of any of these officers, nor the world made worse by their acts or omissions. There is here I believe an honest population, and they have sent out as a rule, if not always, honest representatives to fill places of trust.
In the past there is nothing to discourage, but everything to inspire with hope and confidence. The past at least is secure. My wish is that the future may be, freighted to each and to all, as a county and as . . .
individuals, with like prosperity and equal good fortune. Many of those who started with you, my friends, in the labor of developing these rich lands, building up your towns, and' organizing society, have gone to supposed richer and more inviting fields west, while many others have gone beyond the Great River. They sleep well. Theirs were honest and true lives. They, with you, laid here the foundations of a new government, and they laid them well. Be it yours and mine to imitate their example, and, with greater advantages, remember that we have increased responsibilities. Let us all struggle to keep unspotted the good name of the county, and at the same time strive to make ours among the wealthiest, noblest, and truest of all the States in this the greatest nationality of earth.
LIST OF COUNTY OFFICERS
State Senator — JACOB G. VALE.
Representatives — SAMUEL WHITTEN, JOHN R. WRIGHT
Judge of Circuit Court — ROBERT SLOAN.
Clerk Dis. & Cir. Courts — RUSSELL JOHNSTON.
Deputy Clerk — W. A. GEBHARDT.
Treasurer — ROBERT L. CLARK.
Deputy Treasurer — HENRY G. MILLER.
Auditor — ALEX. BROWN.
Recorder — V. K. KITTLE.
Sheriff — JOHN W. SHANE.
Deputy Sheriff — ROBT. HUNTER.
Coroner — GEO. C. STIDGER.
Supt. Public Schools — F. M. MILLER.
Surveyor — E. B. KIRKENDALL.
Board of Supervisors — ONIAS HALE, ERASTUS PITKIN, THOMAS CHRSTY.
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