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James L. Byrd, a Kentuckian and a pioneer of Indiana before he came to Iowa, arrived in Cass county in the spring of 1852, having made quite an extensive prospecting tour throughout the State in company with his son Abraham and his son-in-law, Mason Gill. They bought a claim near the mouth of Buck creek, consisting of about 1,000 acres, for which $125 was paid. Six months afterward one Dr. Ballard came and set up a title to the land. Mr. Byrd paid him $150 for a quit claim deed, built a log cabin on section 30, Pymosa township, and began pioneer life in Cass county. He and Mr. Gill and his sons, Aaron, Thomas, Abraham and Jonathan, all made claims, and when the land was put upon the market they entered a large tract, principally in Grove township.

It is, in fact, quite evident that the Byrd family is more prominently identified than any other with the first settlement of the northwestern portion of Cass county. To illustrate the difficulties under which Mr. Byrd and his family labored, in common with the small band of pioneers then living in the county, it may be stated that he hauled his first seed wheat and potatoes from Des Moines; that he often sent his gain to Rockport, Mo., to be ground, and sometimes went to Hackberry Ridge, Mo., 150 miles, for provisions.

From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pp. 54-55.

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