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History of Cass Co. 1877


The first delinquent tax list published, appeared in the "Iowa Sentinel" published at Corning, Adams county, by L. Raguet, in the fall of 1860. The editor got $694.20 for his work, which we have no doubt was the source of much happiness in the printing office. Brother Raguet was one of the best editors in the State. He resides at Afton Iowa, at present, and though he was born for ann editor, he is now engaged in some other business.

In 1857, a small party of young men, including two sons of Rev. Geo. B. Hitchcock, the pioneer Congregational preacher, started to go to Kansas to take a hand on the free state side of the troubles there. By the accidental discharge of a gun in the hands of Amasa Chapman, one of the Hitchcock boys was killed while the party was in Missouri, and that sad circumstance disheartened them and they all returned, bringing the body of young Hitchcock home for burial.

In October 1855, the County Judge appointed Jeremiah Bradshaw Liquor Agent, of the county. Mr Bradshaw's first purchase of liquor for the county was security of G. Daughty, of Council Bluffs as follows:
3 gallons brand (2.00). . . . . . . . . . . . . .$6.00
3 " P. wine (3.00). . . . . . . . . . . . . .9.00
20 " Rye whisky. . . . . . . . . . . . . .20.00
21 " " rectified (75). . . . . . . . . . . . . .25.00
 Total 50.65
 Profits on same 12.68

Mr. B's second purchase was in April 1856, of 21 gallons of rectified, at 75¢ per gallon, after which there is no further record of the doings of an official of that kind. It seems to have been the Liquor Agent's duty to keep liquors for sale for medical purposes, at a nominal profit, for the public accommodation and benefit, and we presume it was in accordance with a State law then in existence.

One of the earliest school teachers in the county was Miss Belle Macomber, daughter of K. W. Macomber. She taught James L. Byrd's children at his own house in 1855. Miss Macomber was married in 1860, in Lewis, to Wm. S. Reynolds. She became quite famous during the war of the rebellion, and we extract the following mention of her career from "Kirkland's Anecdotes and Incidents of the Rebellion."

Governor Yates of Illinois, paid a rather unusual but well merited compliment to Mrs. Reynolds, wife of Lieutenant Reynolds, of Company A, Seventeenth Illinois regiment, and a resident of that city. Mrs. Reynolds accompanied her husband through the greater part of the campaign through which the Seventeenth passed, sharing with him the dangers and privations of a soldier's life. She was present at the battle of Pittsburg Landing, and like a ministering angle [sic angel] attended to the wants of as many of the wounded and dying soldiers as she could, thus winning the gratitude and esteem of the brave fellows by whom she was surrounded. Governor Yates, hearing of her heroic and praiseworthy conduct, presented her with a commission as Major in the army, the document confering the well merited honor being made out with all due formality, and having attached the great seal of the State. Probably no lady in America ever before had such a distinguished military honor conferred upon her."

August 28th, 1855, Peory I. Whitted was appointed a commissioner to select the swamp and overflowed lands of the county, pursuant to an act of Congress, approved, September 28th, 1850, and in conformity with an act of the Legislature of Iowa, approved January 18th, 1853. November 5th, 1855, Mr. Whitted made his report which was approved by the county Judge. Mr. Whitted now lives in Audubon county.

March 8th, 1857, S. M. Tucker, resigned the offices of Treasurer and Recorder, and Isaac Dickerson was appointed to fill the vacancy, April 22d, 1857. Mr. Tucker's report, presented with his resignation, showed that the following amounts in the several funds were in the treasury:

State funds. . . . . . . . . . . . . .$135.38
County " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 577.84
Road " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 548.45
School " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.97
Salary " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197.55
Sometime during the winter of 1857, old John Brown, of Kansas fame, accompanied by two of his sons and one white man, stopped all night with D. A. Barnett, at the the Grove City House, at Grove City (now the City Hotel, Atlantic.) Brown and his party had in charge about eighteen runaway negroes, men, women and children, whom they were taking on the "underground railroad" from Missouri to Canada. They had three mule teams, and all the male adults of the party were armed with Sharp's rifles and Colt's navy revolvers. After breakfast they took their leave and traveled eastward. No one but Mr. Barnett knew who they were until they had gone, or knew that any negroes were of the party. It was no uncommon thing, during the years just preceding the war of the Rebellion, for runaway negroes to be helped across the county, on their secret march to freedom. One instance in this connection will bear relating. In the year 1859,a pair of runaway negro men were traced from Missouri, to the vicinity of Lewis. A large reward was offered for the arrest of them. The Sheriff of the county and the man who kept the ferry over the Nishnabotany at Lewis had been posted as to the runaways and were on the lookout for them. It was thought the negroes could not cross the river at any point for many miles north or south, but would have to cross at Lewis. Passengers on the ferry boat were watched with unusual interest for many days. One beautiful Sabbath morning a farmer who resided on the west side of the 'Botna, drove down to the ferry, having with him in the wagon two ladies closely veiled. The farmer was apparently on his way to church, and the two ladies closely veiled were apparently female members of his family. The farmer was ferried to the east bank and drove to Lewis -- from there he drove on eastward to Adair county, and placed the two "veiled ladies," who were really the two negro men, safely at another "station" in Adair. The Sheriff and the keeper of the ferry never knew what became of those two negro men, and never knew that they crossed the ferry in open day.

In 1860 a school house was built in Edna Grove. Rich & Stinson, of Fontanelle were the contractors, and it was the first frame school house in the township. It cost $312.50 before it was plastered. The first Union League organized in the county, after the war began, held its meetings in that house. Mrs. Francis Starling, taught the first school in the new house.

The earliest marriage in Edna township, was that of Patrick Archer and Amanda Perkins in 1860. Archer was killed at Vicksburg, at the time of Sherman's repulse.

The post office was removed from Edna to Newlon's Grove in 1866. C. S. Newlon was the first postmaster at Newlon's Grove. He settled in the township June, 1858.

From the History of Cass County, Iowa Together With Brief Mention of Old Settlers
by Lafe Young, Atlantic, Iowa:  Telegraph Steam Printing House, 1877, pp. 39-42.
Transcribed for Cass County by Cheryl Siebrass, March 2014.

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