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History of Cass Co. 1877


Thomas Meredith is a native of England. In the year 1853, he came moving across Cass county on his way to California. He had been a resident of Wisconsin several years, but had made up his mind to go to the land of gold. When he got as far as this county he made what he intended to be a temporary halt, but which proved to be a permanent settlement. He pitched his tent in the year named, at a point in Brighton township, since known as Eight Mile Grove, and entered the land now occupied by John W. Berry, Wm. Trailor, and others. Himself and family lived in a tent while they built a log house. Mr. M. entered over 2,000 acres of land in the vicinity of the grove named, and during his residence here has made as many actual improvements as any other man in the county. He has accumulated largely, making much money out of the increase in the price of land. He still owns much real estate, among which may be classed a large interest in the town of Marne. He does not regret having stopped in the county in preference to completing his journey across the plains.

Nelson Prall settled in what is now Franklin township in 1857. In the night of July 1st, 1858, Mr. Prall, his wife and two children were drowned. Their house stood near what is known as Jim Branch, and during the night named the water became so high that the house in which the family was sleeping, was removed from its foundation adn carried down stream one-third of a mile, when it struck a tree or something else and up-set turning all the occupants into the stream. Thomas Prall, his wife and one child, were also in the house, but Thomas Prall managed to save himself and wife, but while rescuing his wife lost the child. All the bodies of the drowned were recovered, and were buried in Turkey Grove. Thos. Prall now resides in Van Buren county. Wilson Prall, a brother to Nelson, settled in the county in 1857, and continues to be one of our citizens.

Gehart and Charles Hebing are natives of Prussia, and settled in this county, in 1856. Gehart was a soldier in the 23d Iowa Infantry. May 17th, 1863, he was severely wounded at the battle of Black River Bridge, Mississippi, and as the result one of his legs was amputated.

J. P. Crosswait, now a resident of Atlantic, was born in Kentucky in 1803. He located in Lewis May 22, 1856. When he stopped in Lewis he did not expect to remain, but he did remain and is now not sorry that he did.

Among the early settlers of that part of the county now know as Benton township, may be named Walter F. and C. E. Marsh, who settled there in 1855. Their mother, who accompanied them died in 1869. Anson Brown lived on Crooked Creek when the Marshes came, having located there in 1854. James Montgomery improved the farm on which Orson Brown now resides. Mr. Montgomery's son Frank was killed in Missouri during the war. A Mr. Egan improved the farm on which C. Slater now resides, in 1854, or began its improvement that year. Mr. Egan was killed in that year, by his team running off with him. In 1854 Wm. Milhollen lived where L. D. Pearson now lives. Jonathan Decker lived on the farm now occupied by Benjamin Simpson; Rensalear Silver tilled the farm that John Dill cultivates now. James B. Donnell, who died this year lived in that part of the county in 1853.

Dr. A. Teal, of Bear Grove township, settled in Lewis in 1857. He was born in Rensalear county, New York, in 1807. Dr. T. was one of the first practicing homeopathists in the State.

Edwin Gingery, is a native of Ohio, and worked for Dr. Ballard on his farm near the Audubon line, as early as 1854. He says he has chased elk over the land on which the town of Atlantic now stands.

John C. Cannon is a native of North Carolina and is fifty-six years old. He settled in what is Benton township in 1855. He is the father of nine boys all of whom are living, and six of whom were born in this county. Mr. Cannon's mother is still living, and although eight-four years old, can walk a mile with less fatigue than many younger persons.

Osro Baldwin, (uncle of Charles Baldwin, one of the early County clerks) was one of the early settlers on Seven Mile creek. He lived on a part of the land now owned by J. W. Brown. He lived in a cave more than a year, and built a house in 1857 which still stands. Mr. Baldwin died on the farm, and his widow, who was kindly known as "Aunt Phebe Baldwin," now resides in Colorado.

Wm. J. Strain entered his farm on Indian creek in August, 1856. He informs us that at that time there was but one house between his farm and Lewis, and that was John A. Spoor's; but one house in Lewis, and that was Lawyer Tucker's; that the post office was still at Iranistan, and that between Lewis and the present site of Atlantic there were three cabins. Mr. Strain is fifty-eight years old, and a native of Highland county, Ohio.

A. E. C. Hawkins, settled in Pymosa n the winter of 1857 and still resides there. He soldiered from Cass during the war of the rebellion. John Hardenberg settled in the county in 1856; A. W. Hardenberg came in 1858.

Joseph Northgraves built his water mill on Troublesome Creek in the year 1870, and made his first flour in 1871.

Henry Temple arrived in Lewis, for the purpose of making that place his home, in October, 1858. He came from Oskaloosa, where he had lived from 1844. Mr. Temple is a native of Massachusetts, having been born in that State, August 20th, 1816. In the year 1831 he becamse a citizen of Marietta, Ohio, where he resided until 1840, when he came to Fairfield, Iowa. At Fairfield he studied law with Judge Olney and was admitted to the bar in 1842. He lived a year at Six Mile Prairie in Mahaska county, before Oskaloosa was laid out and made the county seat, then he followed the tide and stuck out his shingle at Oskaloosa. In the later place he was a Justice of the Peace eight years. During the war Mr. Temple was Deputy Provost Marshal for Cass and Adair counties. He has also filled the positions of postmaster at Lewis, County Judge and County Recorder. For several years himself and J. W. Brown were the only lawyers in the county, and when there was a law suit they were sure to be pitted against each other. Mr. Temple's first political experience in Iowa, was to ride on horseback from Oskaloosa to Burlington to get Whig tickets printed at the Burlington Hawk-Eye office, for the election held in August, 1840. Judge Temple removed from Lewis to Atlantic, in October, 1868, therefore is one of the pioneers of the last named town as well as of the county.

Joseph C. Yetzer is a native of Richland county, Ohio, where he was born June 9th, 1835. He took up his abode in Lewis in the spring of 1856. He is a carpenter by trade, and his first job was to shingle a house for C. E. Woodward, the house in which Dr. Findley afterward resided. For his work he got $2.50 per day in gold. He did not intend to remain in Lewis when he first stopped, but disappointed himself in that respect. He and Dan Bryan built the store house in Lewis now occupied by Childs & Reinig. In 1861 he worked at building bridges on the Des Moines Valley railroad between Eddyville and Ottumwa. In 1862 he opened a grocery store in Lewis, running it for a short time, when he sold out and enlisted. Being rejected on account of sore eyes he returned to Lewis and in 1863 he bought his former grocery, and since that date has been a merchant. His business success has been remarkable. He at present has stores in Lewis and Atlantic, and is President of the Cass County Bank, of Atlantic.

Wm. Gardner entered a tract of land and settled in Edna township in the year 1855, and ranks among the earliest settlers of the county. He had many trials and hardships to contend with, as in fact they all had. He built one of the first (if not the first) bridges across the Nodaway and built it entirely at his own expense. He hauled his first corn and other supplies from Missouri, some times making trips in the most inclement weather. Mr. Gardner frequently served his township as justice of the peace, clerk, etc. In a later year he sold his farm in Edna and bought another in Atlantic township, in Turkey Grove, being the place now owned by Dr. Bruington. In 1871 Mr. Gardner was elected County Auditor, which position he now holds, having twice been re-elected. He was born near Gettysburg, Pennsylvaniz, in the year 1829. He lived in Illinois from 1850 to 1855.

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. 57-61.
Transcribed for Cass County by Cheryl Siebrass
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