Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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1883 History of
Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa


The twelfth General Assembly convened at Des Moines in January, 1868. At this time Cerro Gordo county was in the thirty-ninth senatorial district and was represented by Marcus TUTTLE, of Mason City. In the House, Hon. C. W. TENNEY, of Plymouth, represented the fifty-ninth representative district, of which Cerro Gordo was a part, comprising the counties of Cerro Gordo, Worth, Winnebago and Kossuth. These were the first representatives the county ever had in either of the two houses of the General Assembly.

The thirteenth General Assembly convened at Des Moines, in January, 1870. Marcus TUTTLE was still Senator. Cerro Gordo was at this time in the sixty-fifth representative district, which was served by B. F. HARTSHORN, a Mason City lawyer.

The history of Clear Lake would make to its citizens a most defective and disappointing exhibit without a full personal record of the Hon. Marcus TUTTLE. Mr. TUTTLE is not now a resident of Cerro Gordo county, but Clear Lake township and village can never lose the prestige of his influence and long interest in her affairs.

Marcus TUTTLE was born in Fairfield , Herkimer Co., N. Y., May 10, 1830 . He is the son of Ira and Lucy (BROCKETT) TUTTLE. The TUTTLE family is of English extraction, its earliest ancestors having settled at an early period in the colony of New Haven, Conn. Mr. TUTTLE, of this sketch, is the fourth son of a family of eight children - four sons and four daughters. About the year 1842 his father moved to Clinton, Oneida Co., N. Y., where he reared and educated his children as circumstances would permit.

Marcus TUTTLE strongly cherished an idea of obtaining a liberal education, but decided that another avenue in life would be wiser, and devoted his energies to his father's interests. He was an assiduous reader, and the pictured promises of the Great West seemed to offer a suitable field for the development of his energies and the investment of the small fortune of which he, by his untiring industry and economy, fast become possessed; and accompanied by two brothers, Elon and A. B. TUTTLE, he set forth on a prospecting tour through Iowa.

The trio proceeded direct from Des Moines to Clear Lake, traveling by the compass until their eyes were refreshed by the sparkling waters of the lovely lake which gleams and ripples in the June sunshine of 1883, as it did in the June of 1855, when the three sons of the Empire State stood transfixed by its wondrous beauty and saw, almost prophetically, its future of promise which all still live to see fulfilled.

Marcus TUTTLE opened a farm of 200 acres on the prairie east of the lake. In 1856 he assisted in laying out the town of Clear Lake, and soon after commenced operating in real estate. He made the public interests of the village and township his own, meanwhile, and stood ready to confront and emergency which seemed to threaten the welfare of the little community. He seemed to have the rare faculty of turning his attention to most any business that circumstances appeared to require, and to make a complete success of most any enterprise he might engage in. Seeing that a saw-mill was much needed, he purchased one operated by steam, set it up in the town, and run it for several years, making market for his surplus lumber by taking jobs and building school houses in Cerro Gordo and adjoining counties. The place being without a general store, he found time to establish a mercantile business, and for several years carried on that enterprise, and became one of the comparatively few who prove themselves to be successful merchants.

When circumstances seemed to require we find him engaged in doing a banking and exchange business with his usual success. In the meantime we find him actively engaged in the political and civil affairs of his county and State, and generally a delegate in conventions of the State, district and county.

The records of Cerro Gordo show him to have held the office of county judge for one term near the close of the county judge system. At the opening of the rebellion, being pronounced physically disqualified for army service by the severing of his right thumb in his saw-mill, he was offered and accepted the position of assessor of internal revenue, in his district of four counties, and continued to discharge the duties of the office until near the close of the war, when he resigned to fill the place of State Senator, to which he had been elected in his district, comprising the counties of Butler, Grundy, Franklin and Cerro Gordo. He served his constituency in this position four years; was chairman of committee on commerce, and an active but quiet member, and worked on other committees, including that on railroads. He was largely instrumental in securing the passage of the bill giving a land grant to the C. M. & St. P. R. R. Co., which resulted in the building of this line of road, through Cerro Gordo county on the present line by Mason City and Clear Lake.

An important work of Mr. TUTTLE was the framing of the existing county high school law, which he guarded through its passage successfully when many other proposed school laws failed. From the organization of the party he was always a republican, in fact, from a boy he had been a warm abolitionist, and was one of the few who voted to strike the word "white" from the State constitution when that question was first submitted to a vote, and badly defeated. Yet a few years later he was privileged to see that measure adopted by a large majority. he is practically radical in both his political and religious views and sentiments, yet he is generous and liberal in allowing freedom of views to others. He is always found ready to contribute freely for the building of churches, and promoting the cause of temperance and other like benevolent objects.

He was married, Feb. 4, 1857, to Caroline M. WARNER, of Otselic, Chenango Co., N. Y. Their first child, a daughter named Jessie, was the first inmate of the Clear Lake cemetery. Three children are living - Rose, (Mrs. Gilbert B. McINTOSH, of Clear Lake), Frank M. and Anna L.

Mr. and Mrs. TUTTLE celebrated their silver wedding Feb. 4, 1876. An incident of surprise to the guests on that occasion was the wedding of their daughter, who resides on the homestead on the north side of Clear Lake park.

Mr. TUTTLE removed to Spencer, Clay Co., Iowa, in March, 1879, where he had extensive landed interests. He had become worn and wearied with his arduous life and had resolved to concentrate his means and devote them and his energies to stock-raising, which afforded exclusive out door life. After his settlement at Spencer, the Iowa and Montana Live Stock Company was organized and incorporated, with Mr. TUTTLE as its president, which position he still holds. The company now have 1,800 head of cattle on ranch in Montana .

The home herd of Mr. TUTTLE includes 600 head, many of which are blooded stock. He still owns a fine property at Clear Lake and frequent visits serve to continue his former ties. He has seen Clear Lake village grow from its first shanty to its present prosperity and beauty, and rejoices in its popularity with the same heartiness that characterized every effort he made in the past to advance its substantial progress.

SOURCE: History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. p. 711. Union Publishing Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

Transcription by Susan Steveson



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