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Early Settlement-"Franklin County It’s Past & Present"-1869


Posted By: cheryl Locher moonen (email)
Date: 2/1/2020 at 12:22:28

Dubuque Daily Times. Sunday, Apr 11, 1869. Dubuque, IA. Page: 2

Franklin County
It’s Past & Present

Franklin County is the fifth county west of the Mississippi River and the third south from the Minnesota State line. It is bounded on the north by Cerro Gordo County, east by Butler, south by Hardin and west by Wright, is 24 miles square and contains 576 square miles. It contains 16 congressional and 9 civil townships: West Fork, Ingham, Geneva, Osceloa, Clinton, Washington, Reeve, Morgan and Oakland. Most of the county is undulated prairie interspersed with groves and belts of timber along the streams.

Early Settlement in Franklin was made in 1852. In October of that year, J. B. Reeve from Ashtabula County, Ohio and John Mayne a trapper and hunter arrived on the same day respectively at the east and west ends of Mayne’s Grove, Mr. Mayne left in the course of a year or so, and Mr. Reeve remained to become a permanent settler. A man names Phelps also made a location at the same time and place, but left during the winter of 52’-53’. During the spring or summer of 1853 one Dr. Aldred made a claim and built a cabin at what was latterly known as Down’s Grove, near the county line adjoining the present location of the village of Ackley, and not long thereafter sold pout his claim to Thomas Downs who gave his name to the grove and froze to death on the prairie, between Hardin City and the latter place, March 1855. About a dozen families came into the county in 1853, none of whom now remain in the county so for as known, expecting Mr. B. F. White of Morgan Tp.

The year 1854 brought a large accession to the population of the count, among whom, now residing in the county may be mentioned John J. Popejoy of Oakland Tp., from Fayette County, Ohio, Amon Rice of Washington Tp. (settled in Geneva) John Shobe, Lyman W. Bailey and George W. Eckley of Clinton Tp., from Cedar County in this state, Col. A. T. Reeve and C. M. Leggett of Reeve Tp. The former from Ashtabula County and the latter from Geanga County, Ohio. Richard Blake and Patrick McCann of Osceola Tp. From Cook County, Illinois, and perhaps others whose names do not now occur.

The first “official” that Franklin County ever had was in 1854 when a man named McCraty residing at Mayne’s Grove was appointed Justice of the Peace by the county Judge of Hardin County. Esquire Crary’s judicial doings are not a matter of record in the archives of the county, only unwritten and his present residence is unknown.

The first school taught in the county was a private subscription school in a log shanty at Mayne’s Grove, in the summer of 1854, by Miss Octavia Smith, (now Mrs. H. J. Mitchell).

The first death in the county of any white man was that of Mr. Webb at Mayne’s Grove, in April 1854.

Although Indians abounded to the north and west of the new settlement, no fear of any molestation from them was entertained until a report reached the settlement on the night of the 9th of July 1854, that hostile Indians, 300 strong were marching for the settlement and on account of the few numbers of the settlers and the scarcity of ammunition, it was decided that discretion was the better part of valor and early the next morning, the entire population of the county were enroute for Beaver Grove, near where the village of New Hartford now stands, in Butler County although it is morally certain that none of the party saw a hostile Indian during the time of the “scare” yet many are the accounts of incidents, comic and otherwise, that may be heard from the few individuals now in the county who were “through the war.” The settlers did not return to their homes for about three weeks.

In August 1855, the county was organized by an election held under an order granted by the county Judge of Chickasaw County. That election 52 votes were polled and the following officers elected: County Judge, James B. Reeves; Treasurer and Recorder, Isaac Miller; Clerk of the District Court, Dr. S. R. Mitchell; Sheroff, Solomon Staley; Schhool Fund Commissioner, Henry Shroyer; Coroner, Q. A. Jordan; Justice of the Peace, C. M. Leggett.

The first marriage solemnized in the county was in 1854, the parties being Mr. Alexander Arlege and Miss Julia Peters. The first marriage license issued, of which there is any record, was Aug. 9, 1855, and was that of Daniel B. Martin and Miss Nancy Garner. The parties had previously been married by Esq. Leggett by virtue of a license issued by the County Judge of Hardin County, but Franklin County having been just organized, the happy couple, after a day or two’s brevet connubial bliss, concluded that it was the safest course to get a new license from his honor, Judge Reeve, and take a new start, which they accordingly did, and hence the above record.

The first census was taken in 1856, and numbered 780. In 1859, 1,159. In 1860, 1,309. In 1863, 1,448. In 1865, 1,899, and in 1867, 2,321. The population has increased very rapidly the past two years, and cannot at present be less than 4,000. The number of schools in the county is nearly fifty, and the number of children attending school in the county the past winter about 1,000


Franklin Documents maintained by Rose Rouse.
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