During the exodus of the Mormons from Nauvoo in 1845 or 1846, they established a station on the high land west of Nishnabotany River, about two and a half miles west of where the town of Lewis was afterwards located. Not far from this station was the site of an Indian village of the Pottawattamie tribe, which, in all probability, was the reason why the Mormons named it Indiantown. Indiantown continued for several years to be the only place of business in the county, and being on the principal thoroughfare between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, quite a large trade was done. As late as 1853 or 1854, Jeremiah Bradshaw kept a store there. The site is now occupied by well cultivated farms. The first permanent settlers were Jeremiah Bradshaw, from Illinois; V. M. Conrad, from New York; Peter Hedges, from Illinois; David Chapman, from Ohio; Joseph Everly (who was killed in some way unknown); J. M. Watson, known in early times as "King James." He was a great hunter, and was often seen riding over the country followed by a pack of hounds, some thirteen in number. He came from La Fayette, Indiana, and was accidentally killed while hunting. Deer were very plenty [sic] in the early history of the county. D. Morrison, one of the early settlers, father of J. C. Morrison, the present well-known Anita merchant, and who settled on Turkey Creek near the present town of Anita in 1853, is said to have killed seventy-five deer in one Winter. There were amongst the early settlers O. O. Turner from Illinois, Jefferson Goodale, and Joseph Doner, the latter two came in 1854.
The first post office in the county was at Indiantown, called "Cold Spring." The first settlement made on Turkey Creek was by R. D. McGeehon, who built the first house in the Summer of 1852, and it still stands on section 14, township 76, range 36. James L. Byrd and his sons came into the county in 1853, and made their claims west of Atlantic, where they now live and have fine farms. Of the earliest settlers who are still living in the county, are V. M. Conrad and Jeremiah Bradshaw, the latter came into the county in 1851.
In 1853, a few not named came into the county, amongst which were George Wakefield, Albert Wakefield, who settled near Turkey Grove. The first preaching occurred at Jessie Ellis' house in the Summer of 1854; the next was at George Wakefield's, same summer.
The first saw mill in the county was built at Iranistan, west of Indiantown, in which water power was used; the second was built on Turkey Creek not far from Grove City by A. Wakefield; the third (and first steam) was built by McGeehon & Barnett.
The first grist mill was erected at Lewis 1857, by Keyes, Peck & Co., and the same is now operated by John Roush. Previous to the building of the Lewis mill the settlers had to go with their grists to "South Coon," forty or fifty miles distant. R. D. McGeehon got his first "grist" ground after locating in Cass County, at Rockport, Missouri, distant one hundred and twenty-five miles, seventy-five miles of that without a house to cheer the traveler on his way.
Jeremiah Bradshaw was the pioneer merchant, having opened a store at Indiantown in 1853. V. M. Conrad had a store at the same place in 1854 or 1855. Iranistan had a store in 1854, kept by McCartney. Iranistan and Indiantown were rival cities in those days. Lewis became a competitor in 1854, and had a store in 1855; but not till 1856 was there a first-class general store in the county, when Keyes, Peck & Co. opened such a store in Lewis, and their names can yet be discerned on a store room formerly occupied by them, at the present time. George Conrad, who is now of the firm of Conrad & Chapman, merchants in Atlantic, started a store in Grove City in 1860. Lewis captured the post office from both its western rivals, and the name was changed from "Cold Spring" to Lewis. Grove City was the next post office established in 1857.
The first election was held at Indiantown, in the Fall of 1852; thirteen votes were polled in all; total population at that time, about one hundred. The county was organized in 1853; the organizing sheriff was William S. Townsend; and the first election as a county was in the Spring of the same year.
The first county officers were: County Judge, Jeremiah Bradshaw; Treasurer and Collector, V. M. Conrad; Clerk, C. C. Woodward; Sheriff, Francis E. Ball; Drainage Commissioner, Levi M. Mills; Surveyor, David Chapman; Coroner, James N. Benedict; Assessor, H. L. Bradshaw; Supervisor, T. N. Johnson.
Thomas G. Palmer and Milton Richards were appointed commissioners to locate the county seat, and on March 11, 1853, located the same at Lewis. Neither of the commissioners are now living in the county.
The early business of the county seems to have been transacted at and in the vicinity of Indiantown, where the first settlement was made and the first election was held. The first money voted out of the county treasury was $34 to the locating commissioners of the county seat, for seventeen days' service. The first marriage license granted was to Henry Snyder and Sarah M. Karothe, on the 8th day of September, 1853.
"A. T. Andreas Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa" Chicago: Andreas Atlas Co., 1875, pg. 487.