The following lengthly article from the Strawberry Point Mail-Press, August 22, 1901 is a transcript of of the speeches and activities at the Old Settler's Reunion of 1901. It gives a wonderful overview of the pioneer life and the earliest settlers in Cass and adjoining townships in Clayton county; as well as the adjoining townships of Fairfield & Putnam in Fayette county and northern Delaware county. This little map shows the areas these old settlers pioneered.
The microfilm of the old newspaper was in poor condition, and several columns had letter or words cut off, there were tears and wrinkles ..... anything contained in [brackets] was added by the transcriber. What remains of this story, as best as I can transcribe it, is as follows .......... Sharyl Ferrall, Clayton co. IAGenWeb, August 2009.
Murder won out and they might as well own up to it, a management of the Old Settlers' picnic bribed the [illegible] man. It was a beautiful day and the old settlers of Cass and adjoining townships began coming in with the early morning. Newberry park with all its beauty and manifold attractions was alive with these friends and neighbors along before the hour set for the program's commencement.
After music by the Glee club and prayer by Rev. S.N. Bixby, President [of the Old Settler's Association] Cooley welcomed his friends in an exceeding pretty speech of welcome. We are glad to give it to our readers herewith:
PRESIDENTS ADDRESS. Three score years ago, the advance hoard of civilization began their energetic push to the west of the Mississippi river and organized for the coming hosts that were to make [illegible] the central figure in the constellation of states. The brave men and women that constituted that guard are fast passing to their reward.
We gather here today to pay tribute to their grand accomplishments and offer them a meed of praise for the hard work they performed and to [illegible] a bounteous and heart felt welcome. That they wrought well is given by the development of our virgin soil to the productiveness of all that goes to supply the needs of her beautiful homes and by their loyalty to their country in her hour of danger and by her advanced position in educational works and by the grand [illegible] that have heretofore and now present here in the Nation's councils, [illegible], legislative and diplomatic. To my venerable Fathers and cohorts, again and again we extend our welcome to this Old Settlers re-union. I'll leave it to others the pleasant task portraying more specifically the [illegible] of this portion of the [illegible] Nation yet born to bless [illegible] kind.
[illegible] the name of the proprietor of this beautiful park I welcome you. [illegible] of the young men and women and children I welcome [illegible] the name of the advance guard [illegible] 20th century I extend welcome [illegible] glorious old rear guard of the last century. May your remaining sojourn among us be peaceful and happy. And may [illegible] Father welcome you when you [illegible] to your rest from your [illegible] labors.
Amen and amen.
President Cooley was followed by B.W. Newberry, the orator of the day. To [illegible] meager words that Mr. Newberry's speech was interesting and instructive we would not do it justice. The facts were pleasantly chronicled amid a store of anecdotes that left the history one long to be remembered with pleasure. Mr. Newberry said concerning the history and traditions of Cass Township:
Cass Township was organized as a separate township in 1850. The following is the official order of the County Commissioners:
January 8th, 1850: Ordered that the petition of William Alloway and others praying to be set off into a township of the following dimensions, to wit: - including Township 91 North, Range 6 west 5th P.M. be and is hereby allowed, and that the first election be held at the house of James Alloway in said township, and that [illegible] that James Alloway, Joshua Betts and Wm. Alloway are appointed judges of the first election and that the township shall be called Cass, and the Clerk is hereby instructed to notify the citizens of said township of the proceedings of this Board."
A.S. Cooley, J.W. Potts
Robt. R. Reed, Clerk.
According to the code of 1843 the annual election was held the first Tuesday in October. We have no record at our command of the first election but it is said that the ballot box was the hat of one of the judges, and that the election was held as ordered at the house of James Alloway which was on the farm now occupied by Miles Alderson about a half mile northeast of Strawberry Point.
This house is also notable as being where the first marriage in Cass Township occurred. James Dickinson, a widower who lived on the place now owned by Alex Henry in Sperry Township was married to Malissa, daughter of James Alloway, the Reverend N.W. Bixby officiating. The date of this marriage was May [8th or 18th], 1850. The bride was the only marriageable woman in the township. A goodly number of relatives and friends were present. The table was a [illegible] log with legs inserted and the [illegible] of the household furniture corresponded with the table. The repast consisted of vegetables, chicken and pastries, the best the township afforded. The very best was none too good for this first marriage in the township. Mr. Dickinson and his wife moved from the county in May, 1851, with Joseph Hewitt to Clear Lake for the purpose of engaging in trade with the Indians and founding a new home and here on the south east shore of the banks of that beautiful lake in Cerro Gordo County, Mr. Dickinson and Mr. Hewitt laid out a town site, but the railroad came along and was located on the north side of the lake and the present town of Clear Lake staked out to the great detriment of Mr. Dickinson's and Mr. Hewitt's old town site, which never amounted to much. Mrs. Dickinson died at Clear Lake in December, 1858, but Mr. Dickinson is the survivor of several wives and made his home until recently at Clear Lake but is now living in Britt, Hancock County. Under date of August 18th, 1901, he writes "I would like very much to meet the Old Settlers but have creeping paralysis so I cannot walk only a little about the house but I send greeting and best wishes to all,"
It is said that at this first election in the township for the office of Justice of the Peace there was a tie, and lots were cast which was decided in favor of William Alloway. Just who Mr. Alloway's opponent was, I have been unable to ascertain, but presume that it was Joseph C. Tremain, as being the best man fitted for the position in the township. Wm. Alloway was a man of considerable ability. Had acquired something of an education, and moved in the fifties to Council Bluffs where he held the position of Police Justice for many years. He died in Council Bluffs in 1865.
In 1847 the board of County Commissioners made the following order: "April 22nd, 1847. Board met pursuant to adjournment, present John Downie and Joe B. Quigley, and ordered that, Whereas, the Board of County Commissioners, knowing the situation of the county as regards to the schools not being organized into townships is not entitled to any share of the school funds, therefor under that consideration the commissioners have organized the county into township, boundaries and numbers as follows:
Milville No. 1, Mallory No. 2, Lodomillo No. 3 (Boundary). The west 1/2 of Twp 91
North Range 4 west, and Twp 91 Range 5 and 6 (Lodomillo included, not only its present boundaries but also the west half of Elk and all of Cass), Hewitt No. 4 (Boundary) Twp. 92 North, Range 5 and 6 with Fayette County attached, east half of Township 92 North, Range ? west attached to Volga Twp. (so that the boundaries of the so called Hewitt township included the west half of Cox Creek, all of Sperry and all of Fayette County - quite a sizeable township), Volga No. 5, Twp, 92 North, Range 4 west and NE 1/4 Twp 91 North, Rg. 4 west and south west quarter of Twp 92, Rg 3 west and E 1/4 of Twp 92, Rg 5 west. Jefferson No. 6, Garnavillo No. 7, Boardman No. 8, Mendon No. 9, Monona No. 10, Lodomillo and Hewitt were placed in County Commissioners District No. 1 including Milville and Mallory. District No. 2 was composed of Volga, Jefferson and Garnavillo and District No 3, Boardman, Mendon and Monona, which constituted the list of townships of the county at this date.
Joseph Hewitt, an Indian trader, settled on the township line between Cass and Sperry in 1840. His home was just across the line in Sperry. HIs son Moses Hewitt lived about a mile and a half west of his father's on line between Cass and Sperry near the residence of David Mitchell. He died about 1852 and his widow some years afterwards married Stephen Young. They moved to McGregor where Mr. Young died not long after.
The first actual resident of the township was James Tracy, who located in Section 6 in 1846 on the farm now owned and occupied by his son James W. Tracy. Mr. Tracy lived on this farm from the time he settled in the township till his death which occurred in 1875. Mr. Tracy was born in Ireland, came to this country and located in Illinois. He was a typical son of Erin, honest, open hearted, generous and quick witted. He had his failings and was his own worst enemy. He always took pride in being the first actual settler in the township and called himself the father of Cass township. His son Joseph H. Tracy now living at Fayette was born in 1848 and was the first white child born in the township. Mrs. Clarissa Tracy, his widow died a few years ago. Mrs. Tracy was an active intelligent woman, greatly respected by all who knew her and bore with bravery and fortitude the trials and privations of frontier life.
While a small boy I remember witnessing an instance of Mr. Tracy's quick wit on an occasion when Mr. Alex Blake jocularly remarked in the presence of Mr. Tracy and Mr. Giles Ward, that Ward and Tracy were the first land owners in Cass township and had the whole township to select from and had chosen the two poorest farms, as he said, in the township. Mr. Tracy quickly turned to Mr. Ward and inquired, "How much is your land assessed Giles?" Mr. Blake happened at that time to be township assessor.
The next actual residents in the township came in 1847. They were Samuel Hines and family. His mother, Mrs. Jane Hines, William Alloway Sr. and sons James, Wiliam and Azariah, and Moses German, son-in-law of William Alloway Sr., old Mr. Betts, known as Pap Betts, and his son Joshua Betts and Ebenezer Betts, Joel Harrow and his four sons Elmore Harrow, Asa Harrow, Anson Harrow and Joel Harrow and his son-in-law a preacher by the name of Brown. These with the Tracys were the only residents of the township in 1847 as far as we are able to ascertain.
The Harrow family located on the Maquoketa near Joy spring. They built a double log house about 50 rods west of Joy spring, a magnificent spring known then as Harrow spring. Their house was on a public road running from Delhi to West Union and in its day was used as a hotel. Elmore Harrow was a son-in-law of Mr. Betts Sr. Ebenezer Betts took the early California fever and in 1849 went to California by team. Joel Harrow built a house on the Joy place which he owned but sold the farm to Mr. Joy in 1853 and in 1854 moved west, probably to California. Two of the Harrow boys moved in 1852 with the Betts families to California. The father and other sons moved to California in 1854.
Tradition says that an Indian in an early day, took, stole, appropriated and rode away a horse without the owner's knowledge or consent, near Guttenburg. The Indian was pursued and ovetaken near Mr. A.R. Carrier's place and taken to the South Ford timber near the Harrow spring and then and there by sentence of Judge Lynch, hung. Horse stealing in a new country is oft times considered a capital offense.
Wm. Alloway St. located in Section 1, just south of J.R. Alderson's residence on the east side of the public road, afterwards occupied by Dr. Tyson, Wm. Alloway Jr., the first justice, located about 40 rods from his father's on the west side of present road. Moses German, brother-in-law to William Alloway Jr. and the first constable in the township, located about 20 rods north of his place. Mr. German moved about 1855 to Harrison County, Iowa, where he died in 1899.
Samuel Hines, who preceded the Alloways a short time, located near a spring about 80 rods west of the present residence of J.R. Alderson's in Sec. 1. His mother accompanied him and he built her a house near his place. Mr. Hines cultivated several acres and raised the first corn in this vicinity. The corn field is now grown up to timber and now has thirty trees on that cleared corn field sixty feet tall. Timber will grow in this country if you will protect it from stock and fire.
The Alloway and Hines families were Virginia people. The Betts families were Ohio people. Joshua Betts located on the A.R. Carrier farm, and his father, generally called Pap Betts, settled on the A.E. Axtell farm, his house being about 20 rods north of A.E. Axtell's present residence. Here in 1847 he built and operated a blacksmith shop, the first blacksmith shop in the township. He sold out in 1852 to Charles Blanchard and with his son Joshua moved to California that year.
Azariah Alloway, son of William Alloway, located on the ?0 acres in Sec. 13, known as the Hestwood farm. He afterward disposed of this claim and moved to Lodomillo Township locating on a place in Chipman Hollow now occupied by C.H. Donahue where Mr. Alloway died a few years since.
William Alloway Sr about 1850 disposed of his claim near Mr. Alderson's and moved to Delaware County in Honey Creek Township known as Dutchtown where he engaged in the milling business. In June 1851 a great flood came and washed away the mill and his wife was drowned. He returned and lived with his son James on what is known as the Protenguire farm in Sperry Township. On a cold winters day in 1853 he exposed himself and his feet and hands were frozen from the effects of which exposure he died and is buried in Cox Creek Cemetery. James Alloway moved to Nebraska where he died a number of years ago.
On Mr. Alloway's removal to Delaware County about 1850, Dr. Tyson moved into his house near Mr. Alderson. Dr. Tyson prior to this had lived in what was known as Wild Cat Hollow in Sperry Township near Blanchards Mill. The Doctor had no team and Thomas Hines, son of Hiram Hines, although only a lad of 13, took his father's team and moved the Doctor and his family and effects to the Alloway house. Dr. Tyson had a step-son, Levi Perkins, who soon afterward married a daughter of Mr. Alloway and resided with his step-father. His wife died soon after and is buried in the Cox Creek cemetery. Levi Perkins moved to Little Sioux, Harrison county, where he now resides. Dr. Tyson, as near as can be ascertained, was not a graduate physician but was a sort of botanical doctor, preparing his own medicines from roots and herbs. He planted certain kinds of herbs and one kind to this day cannot be found in any other locality. Dr. Tyson moved away about 1853 [or 1858].
About 1840 [or 1849] a family named Watkins lived above David Mann's mill near where Ball creamery was located. Mr. Watkins had quite a family and was a great hunter and had an excellent rifle. One of his sons accidently shot his sister, a girl eleven or twelve years of age, killing her. Mr. Watkins disposed of his gun to the Hines family in whose possession it still is, and Mr. Watkins soon after the accident moved from the country.
In 1848 John Mitchell and Washington Maxwell with their families moved from Bowens prairie in Jones county and erected cabins for their families on the Brell place in sec. 2, now owned by Patsey Lane. The Mitchell cabin was near a spring a little southeast of the present Lane house and the Maxwell cabin a little to the northwest near another spring. Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Maxwell were brothers-in-law and had selected claims on Cox Creek near Maxham creamery, but on account of fear of Indians they built their first cabins on the Brell place so as to be in the neighborhood of Samuel Hines and the Alloways, who lived from one half to a mile on the east. The claim selected by Mr. Maxwell is the Barney Olinger farm on Cox Creek and Mr. Mitchell selected the adjoining claim now constituting the O'Brien farm, both in Sperry Township. Here both families lived for many years. Mr. John Mitchell first came to Iowa in 1839 from Illinois and settled at Riverside in Johnson county about 12 miles south of Iowa City, and afterwards took up a claim near Marshalltown in Marshall county. From there he moved to Bowen's prairie in Jones county near Cascade. Mr. Mitchell while in Johnson county, worked on the first Territorial Capital at Iowa City. He moved from Jones county to Clayton county and lived in this vicinity until his death, which occurred a few years ago. Mr. Mitchell was acquainted with the Hines family in Illiniois, and drifted to Johnson county and then to Clayton county in the same localities. Mr. Maxwell sold his farm in Sperry township and died in 1897. His widow is still living. Both Mr. Maxwell and Mr. Mitchell were strong, honest, reliable men.
About 1848 or '49 Hiram Hines, Sr., moved to this vicinity from Jones County near Cascade and located a claim on what constitutes the Byrnes farm in the southeastern corner of Sperry township. He lived for a short time on the Alex Henry farm and the same season moved on his selected claim, the Byrnes farm, where he resided till 1860 when he sold out and moved with his family to Missouri; but war being declared, Missouri was too hot a place for an Iowa man and the same season he returned. He purchased the McCrea place, shortly selling and buying of J.C. Tremain what was known as the Barney Morris farm in Sperry township, afterwards the C.H. Sauerbry farm, finally settling in Lodomillo township. His first wife died in 1849 leaving a family of three boys. He remarried Elizabeth Maxon and after her death married the widow of his brother, Reason. He died in 1900 leaving numerous children, among whom are his sons Thomas, Cyrus and Hiram. Reason Hines, brother of Samuel and Hiram Sr., came to Cass township about 1848 but soon after moved to Lodomillo, settling on Honey Creek on the Joseph Randall farm where he resided till 1860 when he moved to Missouri, where he died.
Mrs. Jane (Alloway) Hines was the mother of Samuel, Hiram and Reason Hines. She was fairly well educated and was a remarkable woman. She was born in Virginia in 1761 and died on the farm now owned by McCrea in Cass township in 1860 at the advanced age of 99 years 5 months. She was about 13 years of age when the Declaration of Independence was written. She was a Quaker. Her family were slave holders. Her husband, Thomas Hines was in the war of 1812. He died in Virginia leaving her with quite a large family. She never remarried. She with her family moved to Illinois on the Sangummon in the same locality where Abraham Lincoln lived and the family were well acquainted with the martyred President while a very young man and before his attaining any renown except as a wrestler and rail-splitter - a distinction that many of us would like to possess on knowing the great president in the trying days of his early manhood.
In 1840 Mrs. Hines with her three sons, Samuel, Reason and Hiram and her son-in-law Henry Powelson moved from Illinois to Johnson County, Iowa, and located on the Iowa River at Riverside near Iowa City. On leaving Virginia Mrs. Hines brought with her two slaves, a man and a woman. On removing from Johnson County to Jones county, about 1845, these slaves or servants were left with the son-in-law, Powelson and were cared for in his family till their death and were buried in the family lot in the Riverside cemetery. Her three sons moved with her to Bowen's prairie where she resided till 1847 being accompanied by her son Samuel and his family to Cass township, Clayton County. During certain periods of her life she had considerable in her own right and at this time had quite a number of cattle. A separate house was built for her near that of her son Samuel. On the death of her son Hiram's wife in 1849 she made her home with him till her death. As a Quaker she believed in the plain Yea and Nay and had precise ideas of right and justice. As an instance of her adherence of what she thought to be the right, T.B. Hallock who located on the Tucker farm in 1853 in Lodomillo Township soon after his arrival went to Hiram Hines' place to purchase a cow. Mr. Hines informed him that he had none to sell of his own but that his mother might possibly sell one. Mr. Hallock looked the herd over and selected a fine black one as one that would suit him and asked Mrs. Hines if she would part with that one. She asked hom how much he would give. He said he would pay $30.00. "No you won't" says she, "You give me $25.00 and you can have her." Which would be considered a rather strange business proposition to make in these commercial days.
In 1850 she made a trip to Missouri and returned traveling nearly 2,000 miles by team in an emigrant wagon, camping out on the way when she was 81 years old. She died suddenly without any apparent sickness in December, 1860 in her one hundredth year. What events had occurred in these 100 years and what trials and hardships she passed through and what powers of enduance this poor, plain unassuming Quaker woman possessed!!
MISSION ROAD. By act of the Territorial legislature in 1841 a commission was named to survey and locate a road from Dubuque to Fort Atkinson by the most direct and feasible route and named as commissioners Joseph Hewitt, T.G. Roberts and Samuel Chilton. At that time Joseph Hewitt resided in Clayton County, T.G. Roberts in Rockdale and Samuel Chilton in Dubuque, both in Dubuque County. The commissioners selected Alfred Brown as surveyor and in 1841 did locate said road known as Mission road. The road ran diagonally from Dubuque through Dubuque, Delaware, Clayton and Fayette counties to Fort Atkinson in the southwest part of Winnishiek county. The commissioners selected the highest and best natural location for the road regardless of sectional or division lines. The road runs through Greeley, York, Strawberry Point, Arlington and Fayette. There was considerable opposition by the residents of Dubuque to the road as located, and by act of territorial legislature in 1848 the road in Dubuque County was vacated, but was left as located in other counties. The road through Delaware and Clayton and a portion of Fayette county remains today substantially as located by the commissioners. The road intersects the township line of Cass township in Section 24 at the railroad crossing near Mr. Knight's place, and the road as first located ran diagonally to Mr. Ward's place and from there diagonally across the township as now traveled along the divide between the Maquoketa and Volga rivers intersecting the township line on the west near B.S. Cole's premises in Section 7, and the road constitutes the main street of the town of Strawberry Point and that of Arlington. The road on the east part of Cass township was changed so as to run where the road intersects the township line north about 60 rods to where Mallory road intersects near A.R. Carrier's residence. At such intersections at an early day a guide board was fastened to a large oak tree which read "York 4 miles" "Dubuque 54 miles."
York then a little village of immense possibilities in the minds of its founders is now a corn field and a guide board would be necessary to be placed on its site to locate it at the present time. "A monument of things hoped for" while the other name on the guide board "Dubuque" is a wealthy, prosperous city of more than 40,000 people. The old Mission road has been a highway of vast traffic in its day and is one of the most noted roads in the state.
Joseph Hewitt, one of the commissioners setttled in Nevv Vine four miles south east of the present township in Dubuque County in 1836, town of New Vienna. In 1838 he sold his claim to James Crawford who became the first District Attorney. He was the father of Col. P. W. Crawford now residing in Dubuque and was a brother of Honorable Theopholis Crawford for many years a member of the legislature from Dubuque County.
In 1840 Mr. Hewitt removed to Clayton County and located on the line between Cass and Sperry. Hewitt's reason for leaving Dubuque County was that he must push out further on the frontier so as to not be crowded and his desire to trade with the Indians. He is said to have had a number of wives. While in Dubuque County he is said to have experienced religion during a revival conducted by Rev. Simeon Clark, a Methodist preacher. Hewitt was a quick impulsive man and it is related of him that after experiencing religion Leroy Jackson, who founded the town of Hopkinton, made a trip northward and purchased a number of sheep. Night overtook him at Hewitt's and he staid over night. Hewitt conducted evening prayer and he prayed so ardently and so long that Mr. Jackson who was kneeling and who had been out all day in the cold became so tired that he was overcome by sleep and fell over backwards on the floor near the fire place. Hewitt thought that Jackson was trilling and making fun of him and springing to his feet seized Jackson with the intention of thrusting him out doors, forgetting his profession, exclaiming in his rage that no blankety blankety blank man could come into his house and disturb and make fun of him while conducting family devotion.
Mr. Hewitt maintained his residence at the head of Hewitt Creek in Clayton County till May 20th 1851 when with James Dickinson he removed for the west. The county became too crowded for him and the Indians were fast disappearing from this part of the state, so he located as heretofore stated on the south east shore of Clear Lake in Cerro Gordo County. He returned in 1857 and married Miss Hattie Morley, daughter of Mathew Morley and sister of Samuel and William Morley, contrary to the wishes of her father, who was a widower and considerably advanced in years. Miss Morley was a bright vivacious young school teacher and the young single men of the community unitedly severely criticized her judgment and discretion in favoring the suit of Joseph Hewitt an old frontiersman 62 years of age and a widower of varied experience when she could, as the young men claimed, have driven her ducks to several much better markets. Mr. Hewitt remained at Clear Lake till his death in 1861. He was a typical frontierman and Indian trader. His wife Mrs. Hattie Morley Hewitt died in 1868. Matthew Morley bought out Joseph Hewitt's claim in 1851 when Hewitt moved away. Mr. Morley resided on the farm several years. He died about 1859.
Lodomillo Township was settled several years before Cass. The first house built in Lodomillo township was erected by Mr. Lyon on part of the premises north east of Edgewood now owned by J. M. Robinson, and known as the Conrad place in 1839. Lyon sold his claim to Mr. Bemis who resided there and who disposed of his claim to F.C. Madison in 1843 and who afterward sold out to S. R .Peet who came to this country in 1845, with his brother-in-law G. L. Wheeler who was afterwards Postmaster at Yankee Settlement.
Daniel Noble and Mr. Mulliken came to the vicinity of Edgewood in 1842 and the Steele families about the same time. F. C. and Wm Madison came in 1843, C. T. Poet came in 1844, Jonathan Noble and family in 1846 and settled in Lodomillo. Rev. N. W. Bixby came to Yankee Settlement from Vermont in 1847, took up a claim in Lodomillo and has lived there ever since, a period of 54 years, longer than that of any other person in the community on the same farm.
L.R. Noble and L. L. .Noble, sons of Jonathan Noble, reside in Strawberry Point and the other son F. G. Noble resides on the old homestead. The Noble brothers L. L. and L. R. operated a threshing machine in 1848 and continued to do so for many years. Their field of operation would be appalling to the average thresher today for Iowa at that time was a land of magnificent distances. The first year the Noble Brothers operated a thresher they started from their place, threshed along the route to Scotch Grove, thence westerly to the Wapsie and nearly to Marion, thence northward to Quasqueton, Collins Grove and homeward. Quite a jaunt with a primative threshing outfit. Another season they started from home with their outfit, went via Tracey's and Volga City to Fort Atkinson, thence southward to Fayette, Buffalo Grove, Quasqueton, Collins Grove and home. Another pleasant jaunt over trackless prairies, deep sloughs and almost impassible roads. There was no retracting, if the job was ready when the thresher arrived the grain was threshed, if not the flail or the tramping of cattle had to be relied upon. L.R. Noble on this trip when he arrived at Fort Atkinson had accumulated a little money on the way and it was necessary for him to return and make a payment on some land the family had purchased. So he took one of his horses off from the machine, saddled him and rode home the same day, transacted his business and the day after returned back to Fort Atkinson and immediately put the horse back onto the machine. We wonder how our favorite Norman, Clydesdale, German Coach or standard bred trotters of to-day would stand such treatment. Perhaps no better then our favorite boys would operate a pioneer threshing machine.
We have heretofore named nearly all the pioneer settlers residing in Cass Township prior to 1850. Giles Ward made the first entry of land in section 24 and 26 In 1848 but he did not improve the land or come to the township to live till 1853. The first tax receipt issued in Cass Township was issued to Mr. Ward bearing the date of 1850 and signed by Robt. R. Reed the treasurer, and none of the receipt is printed but all written out. Mr. Ward resided upon the land continuously till about 1895 when he moved to Strawberry Point where he died in 1900. He was an honest, upright, man, peculiar but thoroughly reliable. He had the best memory for dates of any person we ever met. It was always a source of just pride to him that lie was the first actual freeholder in the township.
In 1850 J. C. Tremain and family located in the township, their first claim being the Quick farm on the Delaware county line in Section 35 now owned by Dr. F. J. Newberry. The Tremain family consisted of himself wife and son George L. Tremain, now banker at Humboldt and his son Clyde Tremain. J. C. Tremain had poor eye-sight but was a well read man and frequently appeared as an attorney In justice court and for a number of years was a justice of the peace. In 1855 he located In Sperry township on the farm known as the Barney Morris farm where he resided till 1860 when he sold the farm to Hiram Hines Sr.
In August 1840 Stephen Gaylord carne from Galena Illinois and settled on what is known as the Japeth Ball place in section 14 now owned by Lawrence Glass. Norman Hawley had a squatter's claim of 240 acres on which he built a small house. Mr. Gaylord purchased Mr. Hawley's squatter's right, built a more commodious house and entered the land. He sold his land in 1854 leaving a widow, five sons and three daughters. His father and his wife's father were both in the War of 1812 and were at battle of New Orleans. He and his only brother were both in the Black Hawk war and four of his sons James, William, Benjamin and Alex were in the civil war , which gives a loyal military cast to the family. William and Alex died in the service and James died soon after the war in Nebraska. The remaining son Marion was a splendid violinist and died while a young man. Benjaman lives in Strawberry Point. Stephen Gaylord was the first assessor in the township serving in 1853. The work previous to that time had been done by a county assessor. He received the munificent sum of $14.00 salary as assessor. Mr. Gaylord was a staunch church member. The first Sunday School in the township was held in his house in 1850 and continued to be held there and occasionally preaching by a United Brethren Circuit Rider by name of Brown was held at his house. His widow died at the home of her son in Strawberry Point in 1880 aged 84 years.
Caleb Lane came to this township in 1850 and located on the Hanson farm in Section 2. He was a good violinist and quite a hunter. Mr. Lane and Hiram Hines Sr, another nimrod in 1850 tracked a bear to Chipman Hollow in Lodomillo Township. The bear ran into a den apd they endeavored to smoke and drive it out but did not succeed. Finally they purchased torches and entered the den and in the language of old "did slew the bear." They found two young cubs which Mr. Hines took home and adopted them into bis family to the gratification of his small boys, but the young bears grew and grew and exhibited such tenacities for embracing small boys that Mr. Hines sold them to H. B. Carter of Elkader to the gratification and relief of the boys' grandmother. Mr. Lane moved away about 1852 to the southern part of the state.
Tillman Duncan now residing on his farm in Section 1 came to this county in 1850 and entered the land in Sperry township known as the Kramer farm and his brother-in-law William Isaac located on a portion of the McLaughlin farm in the south west corner of Cox Creek township adjoining Mr. Tarbox's place. Another brother-in-law Jolin Ashley located on the Herring farm in the same year in Sperry township and here Mr. Duncan's father also resided.
Every community has one or more unique characters entirely different from the rest of the people and the early settlers had such a character in the person of one David Mann, a Virginian who settled in the township about 1850 and erected a mill in what is still known as David Manns Hollow in Section 12, on the premises now owned by Mr. Childers. There are a number of excellent springs near here, which supplied the water for motive power. It was a sort of corn cracker. As some one said, you took a kernal of corn there and had it made into three pieces instead of one. The burrs were fashioned by Mr. Mann himself who was an inventive genius from two small boulders or hard heads about a foot in diameter. The mill was built in 1850 and while a small affair, was quite a convenience to the near by settlers who otherwise were compelled to go many miles to have their own corn ground. When asked as to the capacity of the mill he replied, "Wall by keeping her lamin' through all day long I reckon l can grind nigh onto two bushels." He ran a turning lath in connection with his mill and made splint bottom chair, in a substantial manner as wore made in an early day. He never washed his face or hands. Was tall, lean cadaverous looking individual and his wife was not as good looking as he, and it never was necessary to give him a second invitation to eat when at a neighbor's house. He assisted the Blakes to thresh one day and supper was called. The other men properly washed and combed their hair before going to supper, but Mann did not have tho time or inclination to waste any time on such formalities and proceeded to enter the house. He was stopped by the oldest Blake boy James a strong young fellow who said "look here Davy, go and wash yourself," Davy said "I never wash" Well James said "You will wash or you don't go into this house for supper." Finally Davy did reluctantly wash himself after a fashion and James procured a comb and made him take out some of the tangles and other things in his hair, so that for once Davy did wash himself while in the township, reliable reports to the contrary notwithstanding. After running his mill for a time he rebuilt the same and purchased a new set of burrs thereby greatly increasing its capacity. He built a rather commodious log house with an upstairs to it, the size of his family demanding additional room. About 1854 or 1855 a severe flood came one evening and Mann and his whole family crowded into the upper room for safety. When morning came he found that his dam, mill and machinery had been entirely destroyed. In relating his misfortunes he said "Gentlemen, when I looked out of the window in the morning and saw that rny entire mill had been swept away, I really felt that I was about broke." Soon after Mann sold out and removed to Jones county and all trace of him has been lost.
POST OFFICE. There have been three post offices located in Cass Township. The first settlers procured their mail at Elkader, Yankee Settlement and Forestville. The post office was established at Strawberry Point in 1851. Efforts were made to have the post office called Franklin but there was a rural post office established before this time in Lee county and the government does not allow two post offices of the same name in the same state so the name Franklin was abandoned and the name of Strawberry Point agreed upon. There was a tract of timber about a mile west of the town of Strawberry Point that ran to a point along where the road from Dubuque to Fort Atkinson ran and tradition says that a party of soldiers were going from Dubuque to the Fort and camped at this point of timber in the month of June and there found an abundance of wild strawberries. The wife of a lieutenant accompanying the party gave the place the name of Strawberry Point and it was ever after known to the travellers to and from Fort Atkinson to Dubuque by that name.
Very naturally the post office established a mile east was given the name of Strawberry Point. When the railroad was built to the place in 1872 the station was named Enfield but the old settlers did not take kindly to the name of the station and by order of the state rail road commissioners the name of the station was changed to Strawberry Point a name that is really too long and meaningless for a town, but a name dear to all old settlers. It is a little embarassing for a resident of the town to go away from home and be introduced as Mr. or Mrs. or Miss so and so from Strawberry Point, to have the old chestnut sprung ''Strawberry Point, what a queer name; there must be plenty of Strawberries there". The time will probably come when the name will be changed to a shorter and more concise name. The town of Strawberry Point was platted by W. H. Sterns and E. B. Gardner in 1854 as Franklin and is still known on the record, as Franklin. The place was incorporated in 1888 under the name of Strawberry Point.
In 1854 a post office was established in the east part of the township under the name of "Sylvan" with Alvah Bush as post master on promise now owned by C. Weig. The post office was discontinued about six months after it vvas established.
A post offlce was established at Browns mill on the Maquoketa about 1855 under the name of Cass with David Brown as post master; John Martin living near the covered bridge followed him. G. Cooley purchased the mill in 1857 and succeeded Mr. Martin as postmaster. Mr. Cooley held the office till it was discontinued. Mr. Cooley's quarterly salary is said to have been about 12 cents. The post office was established in 1848 at Yankee Settlement, the post office at Forestville in 1851, and the post office at Elkader in 1848.
MILLS. The early settlers were greatly interested in having saw and grist mills located in their neighborhood. It was saving of much travel to Elkader, Hartwick or other distant points to mill. The first mill in this township was the one built by David Mann in Sec. 12 in David Mann's Hollow.
In 1852 a man by the name of Woods commenced the erection of a small feed mill in Sec. 10 about a half mile above the present Kleinlein mill. Mr. Wood was unable to finish the mill on account of poor health and Alex. Blake, Sr., purchased his claim and finished the mill in 1852. Mr. Wood and one of his children died soon after and were buried in the first cemetery in the township located just west of Strawberry Point on P.J. Clough premises near Mr. Pebler's house. The present Strawberry Point cemetery was established in 1853 and some of the bodies in the Clough cemetery were moved to the new cemetery but those of Mr. Wood and his child were not moved. John A. Cooley and W. W. Putney moved the bodies to the new cemetery in 1853.
About 1850 the mill was enlarged and converted by Mr. Blake into a flour mill and soon after sold to Mr. Templeton of Fayette and transferred a number of times thereafter. The mill was burned in 1858 and the property passed to the control of John Kleinlein who erected a substantial stone flour mill about a half a mile north of the site of the first mill and is now owned and operated by his son Gottlob Kleinlein who is an active reliable miller. Mr. Kleinlein about 1865 erected a brewery near the mill which was operated many years.
About 1852, Mr. Gilbriath then occupying the Barney Morris farm in Sperry Township, erected a small feed mill about a mile and a half below Davle Mann's mill near C.H. Sauerbry's place about twenty rods north of the township line. It was a small affair but competition was active between Mann and Gilbraith in the milling business.
In 1853 David Brown laid out a town on the Maquoketa on Sec. 30 and named it Mississega. Either the name or the location killed it for it never grew beyond a saw mill and a blacksmith shop. The place was afterwards known as Wards or Bogues Mill. G. Cooley bought the property and not only did he buy a town site but he did buy a dam site as well as the mill, but the darn would persist in going out on every opportunity so that he was unable to make a sight of money from his investment. He owned the property when he went in the army and while he was gone his wife effected a sale on the entire property, town site, mill, all for four hundred pounds of flour to Isaac Martin to the great satisfaction of Mr. Cooley who commended his wife in effecting such a good sale of the property.
In 1855 W.H. Sterns built a steam mill in Strawberry Point just east of the depot which was run for a number of years. E.B. Gardner, ?. A. and G. Cooley were among the owners.
In 1858 a man by the name of [--ner] erected a substantial saw mill at Rankin's corners just over the line in Lodomillo township. the property afterwards passed to the ownership of Horace Knight who had a town site surveyed and platted under the name Empire City, we believe the plat [illegible] filed for record. The town looked [illegible] on paper. The mill was operated a number of years and finally passed to ownership of J.W. Windsor who about 1864 moved the machinery east of Edgewood to what is known as [--lters] Mill and the frame work was [illegible] to B. Bushee and part of the timbers constitute the frame of the [illegible] Joy barn in Strawberry Point. There were quite a number of buildings about this mill at one time and for several years it was a busy place, but like York, corn grows well on this town site.
SCHOOLS. The first school in the township was taught by Alex Blake in the small house built by Azariah Alloway on what is now called the Hestwood place in Sec 13 in the winter of 1851-'52. Mr. Blake received the sum of [illegible] per month and boarded himself by teaching, and he actually claims he [illegible] earned such a large salary. David Meritt at that time was [illegible] out material for his house to be erected on the claim known as [illegible] Culbertson place now owned by [illegible] Dunning. The logs were hauled to Forestville to be sawed. Mr. Marritt at this time was unmarried and he occupied the school room when school was not in session. He would be out in the woods during school hours and after school would come in, cook his supper, go to bed and early in the morning prepare his breakfast, put away his cooking utensils and household effects with his provinder in the loft of the school house, so that the room was in good condition and well warmed by school time. The next winter in 1852 and 3, Mr. Blake taught school in a log dwelling house at [--own] Mill on the Maquoketa.
The next school house in the township was erected opposite the Strawberry Point Cemetery where Mr. Bowers' barn now stands. It was a one story log building and served the purpose of school room and church building for a number of yeras. The first teacher was Hattie Bush who taught the school in winter of 1853 -4. The next winter, 1854 and 5, [---ert] Cooley taught the school. His term of school closed with a [illegible] school exhibition held in the 2nd story of the old Blake House in Strawberry Point which constituted the town hall. There were exercises by all the pupils among whom Perry Clough who had a [--mation], well committed but during its delivery he came to a [--tting] place which lasted several minutes, but he pluckily recovered himself and delivered the piece all [illegible] and with credit. Besides the [illegible] by the school a number of young men rendered a drama titled, "The rise and Downfall of [?]" written by Hon. Alpheus Scott, [illegible] a student in Oberlin college, a [illegible] of much merit taking about an hour to render. Among those taking part were Mr. Stone, living on the Bill farm who was a school teacher, John A. Cooley, Alex Blake, George Tremain, Henry Warner, [--es] Howard and others. There was also a laughable farce, "The [?] Dentist" by Alonzo and [?] Thompson and others from the County Corners neighborhood. the room was so crowded that the floor began to settle but by being a little [illegible] about giving boisterous applause the exercises were fully completed. This exhibition was long [illegible] of as the best one ever held or could be held in this locality.
A frame school house in Strawberry Point was built in 1853 and is part of [illegible] Gardner's shop on Commerical [illegible] and located on the same site as this building was used some years for church purposes also. The early settler always took an active interest in schools. While a neighborhood was in need of a school a building was rented or built and a school established.
A school house was built about 1840 [or 1846] on the present site of Grange Hall in Lodomillo township and all of Cass township was attached to this district for school purposes. N.W. Bixby was secretary of the Lodomillo District and made an enumeration of the pupils of age residing in Cass. In 1854 a school house was erected on town line near A.R. Carriers residence and the first school was taught by Miss Jane Weeks who afterward married to Hon. R.W. Merrill and now resides in Manchester.
In 1856 there was a change of boundaries of the districts and this school house was sold to Charles Blanchard then owning the Axtell farm and the house was moved and now constitutes part of Mr. Axtell's barn. The old red school house was located on township line on south west corner of Sec 30 in 1856 and remained there until about 1880 when the boundaries of the district were changed and the house moved to south [---t] corner of Sec 36 in Cass township at Mr. Stamp residence.
A school house was established about 1857 on county line near the Sherwood farm, and about 1857 a school house was located near the covered bridge on the Maquoketa. A school was maintained in a log house about 1856 on premises now owned by G.W. Clough north of his present residence and in '55 a school was taught by Mrs. [-ehiel] Rowley in a log house on the Maquoketa just across the county line in Putman township near the S. Joy place. A school house built in an early day near the J.A. Jewell farm about a mile north of Strawberry Point.
While the school houses, school apparatus were of the most primative kind, the schools of those early days, in the acquiring of a good education, in the rudiments of knowledge of reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography, equalled - if they did not excel - the results attained in the rural schools of to-day. There were many excellent school teachers in those days. Among the successful teachers in early days. W.W. Hutney [or Rutney], G. Cooley, James Newberry, Adolphus Huene, Charles Huene, Alvah Bush, Miss Hattie Bush, who married N.G. Platt, Norman Platt, Seymore Platt, Miss Maggie Platt, who married Thomas Updegraff, Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Terrill, Lizzie Ratcliff Haskell, Norman Scofield, Oscar Sherwood, Mrs. Addie Lowell McKinley, Mrs. Wm. Sheldon, formerly Julia Smith, J.M. Pearse, D.G. Eldrigdge, Rev. N.W. Bixby, Mrs. Sarah Westfall Pollard, Mrs. Jennie Graham Westfall, Mrs. Carrie Breumell Rawson, Mrs. Flora Bush Williams, H.B. Taylor, W.A. Preston, Mrs. Sarah Prestod Waterby and many other good and worthy teachers of the early times.
CHURCHES. The early settlers gave considerable consideration to church services and Sunday Schools. As heretofore stated the first Sunday School and first preaching services were held in the house of Stephen Gaylord in 1850 and '51. Afterwards in 1852 Mr. Bleven moving on the Bemis place had Sunday School and preaching in his house and when the first log school house was bult opposite the cemetery in 1853 regular preaching services were held there and also in the first frame school house in Strawberry Point built in 1853.
In 1856 the Baptist church was built in Strawberry Point by popular subscripton and was a most excellent church edifice. While built as a Baptist church all denominations from time to time held services there. The first Baptist minister was Rev. Root of Delhi, who lived in Delhi and came up and held preaching services at stated times. The first resident pastor was Rev. George Scott who acceptably filled the position for several years. Mr. Scott is still living in Nebraska. The first Methodist minister was Rev. D.M. Sterns who came here in 1853 and was a man greatly respected by all. The first minister in this part of the country was Rev. N.W. Bixby our beloved venerable chaplain now in his ninety second year who came in 1847 and who belongs to the Freewill Baptist denomination. He has done much good during his long services as a minister of the gospel and is greatly endeared to all who know him. He has resided continuously on the same farm he settled on in 1847, in Lodomillo Township - 54 years on the same farm. What old settler can equal that?
Rev. J.N. Baker a preacher of the Disciple church came here in 1851 and always took an active interest in religious affairs and frequently preached. Rev. Wm. Lease was among the early ministers located here. He is still in active work. Rev. Alvah Bush and Rev. James Sunderland, both noted ministers in the Baptist denominaton have frequently preached here and Mr. Sunderland for several years was the settled pastor. Rev. J.E. Clough, who came when a young man with his parents in 1851, and settled in the township, is one of the most successful missionaries in India, going there from here in 1863. His wife, formerly Miss Hattie Sunderland, met a tragic death in Chicago in 1892 by the collapse of a folding bed.
Rev. J.T. Sunderland who came here about 1852 is one of the most noted ministers in the Unitarian church. Rev. P.S.W. Deyo and his [illegible] Deyo came [illegible] and were Adventists. Rev. A.G. Emery of Sperry who moved to Kansas about 1878 was among the early Baptist ministers. Rev. Avery Clark, who entered the Luce or Carpenter farm in Cox Creek in 1848 and afterwards lived in Sperry was one of the pioneer preachers. He enlisted in the 6th Iowa cavalry and was killed in battle with the Indians in Dakota in 1863. Rev. J.G. Whifford of Volga City who died at his home there in 1900, was one of the pioneer Methodist ministers.
Among the early preachers of the state is Rev. J.F. Hestwood, now residing in Strawberry Point. He helped organize the Upper Iowa Conference fifty years ago and is one of the very few survivors of that first session.
Rev. H.N. Gates and Rev. A. Graves were among the early Congregational ministers. Rev. Ruby Bixby, wife of Rev. N.W. Bixby, assisted her husband in preaching and was an eloquent and successful preacher. She died in 1877 greatly respected by all who knew her.
In 1851 the Grannis brothers, William, John, Erastus, Harvey and Newton, with their families came here. They took up land west of Strawberry Point including the Arnold and Feuiner farms. They were fine musicians and before coming to the state had travelled as a concert company and after coming here occasionally gave concerts in neighboring towns. John, Erastus and Newton Grannis died a few years after coming here. John at the time of his death lived on the Walker farm south-east of Strawberry Point. William Grannis entered the army and was 1st Lieutenant of Co. D 21st Iowa Regt. After his return he was a commercial traveller for a number of years and died at Earlville, Iowa, several years ago where he ran a hotel. Harvey Grannis about 1865 moved with his family to California where he died. There are none of the descendants of the Grannises here now. Myron M. Grannis, son of William, married the oldest daughter of Judge Murdock who died soon after her marriage. The Grannis family was a large one and they added much to the musical and social circles of the early days.
Job Dalton came in 1851 and located on a farm south-east of Strawberry Point where he resided many years. He moved to Taylor county, Iowa, where he now lives. His son, Whit Dalton, is living in Strawberry Point.
Ambrose Carney and Alonzo Carney came to the township in 1851. Ambrose Carney purchased the claim of Samuel Hines known as the Alderson farm. He sold out in 1860 to Tho Alderson and moved west. Alonzo Carney lived near the C.H. Sauerbry place. He was married to a daughter of Samuel Hines in 1858. He died in 1896. His widow survives him and now living in Cox Creek township with her son.
In 1851 a man by the name of Wood entered the land on which is located the pubic portion of Strawberry Point. He erected a log building on the land now occupied by the Bank and opened up a store. His stock consisted of several barrels of moderately [illegible] whiskey and about a wheel barrow load of dry goods and notions and groceries. Our friend Stub Toney, claims that in 1852 when he first visited Strawberry Point, he counted twenty-four emigrant wagons along Mission street by Woods store, his being the only business place in town. And fifteen men having the wagons in charge came out of Woods store each with a jug in his hand. Mr. Toney says he does not positively know but thinks the contents of the jugs must have been a sort of lotion for the oxens' feet that had become sore. For a year or two Woods did a thriving business and in 1853 he sold out his claim and store to W.H. Sterns. Mr. Woods had a son who had a claim to forty acres of land just west of his father's and erected a log house where George Roe's house now stands. He sold out to Rev. D.M. Sterns in 1853, who afterwards platted the land.
In 1851 Rev. J.N. Baker and family and John N. Bliven and family came from Illinois. Mr. Baker first lived in a small house on the Sloan place the first year and the house burned up. The next season, in 1852, he built a log house in Strawberry Point on the place now occupied by G.N. Steele, where he resided some years. In 1852 he built and conducted a blacksmith shop on the lot across the street where George Alderson now lives. His son Palmer Baker assisted him in running the shop.
John M. Bliven purchased the Bemis farm of two young men named Brownson and he moved on this farm in 1851. Here Mr. Bliven's wife died and he afterwards married a widow named Hysham, mother of Jacob and Hiram Hysham, two well known men in the county in early days. Mr. Bliven sold out to Chancy Bemis in 1856. He was somewhat of an exhorter and took a great interest in Sunday school and church affairs.
David Merritt took up a claim east of Blivens, now owned by T. Dunning. There were no buildings on the place and he proceeded to improve the same. At this time he was a single man. His sister was the wife of Rev. J.N. Baker. Mr. Merritt built the first frame house in the township. J.C. Tremain was head workman in its construction, assisted by J.H. Deyo and Stephen Gaylord. The house was in late years occupied as a granary on the farm and was burned last fall. Mr. Merritt, after completing his house was married in 1852 to Miss Jane Clough at the log cabin of her father just west of Strawberry Point. Among the invited guests was B.F. Gaylord, still living here. At this time Mr. Merritt was a mail carrier from Strawberry Point to Forestville once per week at the munificent salary of twenty-five cents per trip. He made the trip on foot. Mr. Merritt lived in the township many years and by hard work and frugality accumulated quite a fortune. He moved to New Hampton and afterwards to West Union where he died last year, leaving his widow and two sons Frank Merritt of New Hampton, and Prof. F.D. Merritt of Iowa City, surviving him.
In the same year, 1851, Alex Blake Sr. and family consisting of his sons Alex., Tylar and James and his daughters Sarah Blake who married James Massey and Minnie Blake who married George L. Tremain, came from Indiana and purchased the claim of James Alloway adjoining Strawberry Point and now occupied by Miles Alderson. Mr. Alex. Blake Sr. engaged in the milling business in 1852. He died in 1863. His son Alex. Blake resides in Strawberry Point where for more than thirty years he conducted the Blake House. Another son, Tyler Blake, lives in Hamilton county, Iowa, and James Blake, another son, lives in Missouri. His daughter Mrs. Jarvis Baker, died in Strawberry Point and his daughter Mrs. G.L. Tremain died at her home in Humboldt, Iowa, in 1899. The Blake family added much to the social and business realms of Cass township in early days.
Cyrus Clough and his five sons and two daughters came to Cass township in 1851 and settled on a claim west of Strawberry Point. Here a log house was erected on the north side of the railroad where the family lived many years. One of the sons, G.W. Clough, settled on the Thomas Alderson farm and still resides in Cass township. Cyrus and David Clough reside in Kansas. P.J. Clough resides in Strawberry Point and the remaining son, Rev. J.E. Clough is a missionary in India. One of the daughters, Mrs. David Merritt, resides in West Union and the other daughter, Vina, married a missionary in India, named Williams, where she died in 1876.
Norman Hawley came to Cass township in 1849 and located on the Japh. Balk place, and disposed of his right to Mr. Gaylord in 1850. He lived afterwards on the Brotherhood farm now owned by Ray Wheeler in Sec. 26 where he resided, and again moved a place on Bear Creek in Lodomillo Township where he resided many years. He died a few years since. Two of his sons reside in Edgewood.
E.L. Gardner and family and A.D. White and family came here in 1850. Mr. Gardner was justice of the peace [illegible] Strawberry Point's first post-master he moved about 1860 to Denver where he remained till his death which occurred about 1890. He was night policeman in that city for many years. A.D. White first settled in Lodomillo township adjoining the Cass line on the E.K. Axtell farm. He removed to Kossuth county in 1865 and afterwards to Britt, Hancock county, where he built the first hotel. He and his wife now reside in Arlington, Iowa.
In 1850 two brothers named Bronson settled on the Bemis farm. In 1851 they sold to Mr. Bliven and soon after moved from the county.
John Hardman, now residing in Strawberry Point, came to Clayton county with his father, Wiliam Hardman in 1851. His father located on the premises north of Edgewood owned by J.M. Robinson. William Hardman died in Burtler county some years since. Mr. Griffin located on the Buckley farm in Lodomillo township about 1850. He bult a blacksmith shop which is now used as a hog house on the farm. Mr. Griffin sold out in 1853 to F.R. Buckley [or E.R. Buckley] and in the spring of 1854 he moved from the county.
Frank Ruff located on the premises where L.R. Noble's house now stands, about 1850. He sold out in 1852 to J.P. Gager who came to Lodomillo that year. Mr. Gager sold a portion of his farm to L.R. Noble and then built a house at Grange Hall corners now owned by A. Treadwell, where he resided till his death in 1894. Mrs. Gager died in 1888. His son, Edgar Gager, and his daughter, Mrs. Abram Treadwell, reside in Strawberry Point.
G.N. Steele, living in Strawberry Point, came with his parents and settled on a farm east of Edgewood, on Steele's branch in 1845. Mr. Steele has been a Veterinary Surgeon for many years.
The tide of immigration to this locality continued to increase and in '52, '53, '54, '55 and '56 were the great years [illegible] settlement of Cass and adjoining townships.
In 1852 Bailey Wolcott came and located on the Fred Glass place and his son-in-law Henry Vanalstine bought the Hestwood place of Azariah Alloway. Mr. Wolcott afterwards moved to Richland township, Delaware county where he died. His step-daughter Mrs. Carrie Rawson and his daughter Mrs. M.A. Hoag now lives in Strawberry Point. Mr. Vanalstine lived on the Alloway place a number of years and moved to Kansas. His daughters Mrs. S.A. Smith, Mrs. Mrs. Bartholomew and Mrs. Clements reside in Strawberry Point.
In 1852 six families moved from Ogle county, Illinois, together to this township. J.H. Deyo, Mr. Farrand, J.H. Stockwell, Mrs. Dexter, Eliphalet Allen and Joseph Baker. J.H. Deyo first purchased the D.P. Gardner place north of Strawberry Point and soon after exchanged it for the William Fowler's three forties which included the place on which he now resides, the Cooper and the Walker lands to the south, Eliphalet Allen having erected a log house on the hill just north of Mr. Deyo's present residence and here Mr. Deyo conducted hotel for some time and he afterwards operated a cabinet shop. Later he erected a frame house in which he still resides. Mr. Ferrand died many years ago, and his widow a few years since. J.H. Stockwell took up a claim which now constitutes the Wheeler farm where Mr. Foote resides, Mr. Stockwell now resides in O'Brien county, Iowa. Joseph Baker after residing here many years moved west where he died. Eliphalet Alen entered part of the Deyo place. He lived there for several years and moved to Oregon, and returned to Strawberry Point where he and his wife died a number of years ago. Their son, J.M. Allen resides in Strawberry Point.
One Bradford came to the township in 1852 took up the claim near the Cole school house known as the Knowles place where he built and conducted a blacksmith shop. He afterwards sold his claim to Thomas Knowles.
[illegible] Blanchard came to the township in 1852 and purchased of Mr. Betts [illegible] A.E. Axtell farm where he resided till 1868 when he sold the farm to A.E. Axtell. Mr. Blanchard died [illegible] afterwards. [two illegible lines] Edgewood coming there about 1850. His wife died there. Mr. Blanchard has the distinction of having the first top buggy ever owned in Cass or Lodomillo townships and it was long the admiration of all the young men in the community. While residing at Edgewood a relative of his first wife came and staid there about a year. His name was Silas Uriah Phinney. Although only a young man of nineteen, O.T. Peet informs us he was the best posted young man on all subjects he ever met. He was extremely well versed in English literature and could quote Shakespeare and Byron by the hour. He was well read in Blackstone. He taught school near Yankee Settlement for a term or two. While here he made the acquaintance of Miss Mary Milliken, a school teacher whose father was one of the pioneers of Delaware county and some years afterward married her. Mr. Phinney on leaving the Yankee Settlement entered a law office in eastern Wisconsin and was soon admitted to the bar. He became one of the most successful lawyers of the state and for several years was one of the judges of the supreme court of Wisconsin. While holding such position he was compelled to resign owing to ill health. He died at his home in Madison about two years ago; honored and respected by the whole state, and was a fitting example of a young man who made the best of his opportunities.
John Cooley came to Strawberry Point in 1853 and built a house on a lot that B. Hanson now owns. Mr. Cooley moved in 1863 to Savannah, Illinois where he still resides. Mr. Cooley bought the Hanson property of E.B. Gardner in 1853 paying the high price of $45.00 therefor.
E.B. Gardner and W.W. Putney and their families came from Chatauqua county, New York in 1853. Mr. Gardner purchased 80 acres immediately north of the depot in Strawberry Point. He and W.H. Sterns in 1854 platted a portion of Strawberry Point under the name of Franklin. Mr. Gardner resided on his farm till his death. For many years he was justice of the peace and township trustee and made a good and conscientious public officer. His daughter Mrs. A.J. Peuse and his son L.C. Gardner reside in Strawberry Point.
W.W. Putney taught school and engaged in the insurance business. About 1872 he moved to Antelope county Nebraska where he still lives. The same year Peter Blake purchased the farm from Mr. Grannis now occupied by M.G. Arnold. Mr. Blake was married in 1854 to Miss Elizabeth Cook who came to the county the year before and is present with us today. Mr. Blake died in 1888. He filled the position of assessor and justice of the peace for a number of terms.
W.H. Sterns and D.M. Sterns, brothers, settled in Strawberry Point in 1853. W.H. Sterns bought out Mr. Woods store and stock of goods and his claim to forty acres on which the business portion of Strawberry Point is located. In 1854 he built a portion of the old Blake House in which he conducted a store. In 1856 he was a member of the state legislature. He continued in business till 1867 when he moved to Humboldt, Nebraska and where he died several years ago. He was an active, progressive business man and did much to build up the new town of Strawberry Point.
Rev. D.M. Sterns in 1853 purchased of Mr. Woods, son of the store keeper, forty acres in west part of Strawberry Point on which there was a small log house. Mr. Sterns afterwards had the land platted. He was an able Methodist minister, kind, genial, quick witted and was greatly respected by all. He died in 1883 and his widow in 1887. His daughters, Mrs. G. Cooley and Miss Ella Sterns and his grand-daughter Miss Onie Lovell reside in Strawberry Point.
Alvah Bush and Albert Bush came to Cass township in 1853. Alvah Bush settled on the Adams place now owned by C. Weig. He had a post office established a short time at his place name of Sylvan. He was a Baptist minister and taught school several terms. He finally located at Osage, Iowa and was the principal of the Cedar Valley Seminary at that place for many years. He was a successful educator and an [illegible] and a most worthy man. He died several years ago. Albert Bush sold out and located in Putman township on the Westfall farm. He moved to Osage, Iowa where he died not long since.
Lyman Howard and his sons William, Warren, James and Henry came to Cass township in 1858. They built and conducted a hotel in what was afterwards called the Tarbox house in Strawberry Point. William Howard about 1856 conducted with Alpheus Scott, a newspaper at Guttenburg. Henry Howard died in the army.
Giles Ward who entered his farm in 1848, settled on the land in 1853. David Brown came the same year and built his mill on the Maquoketa. Thomas Haskell, T.R. Hallock, Chauncy Bailey, Alpheus Scott, Merrill Kellogg, Simeon Merrill, Ross Merrill and Robert Fairweather settled in the west part of Lodomillo.
Alpheus Scott was an able attorney who came from Ohio. He took up a claim now owned by A.C. Ludy. Soon afterwards he moved to Strawberry Point, then to Guttenberg, Garnavillo and Elkader. He was a member of the state constitutional convention from this county in 1856 defeating Maturin L. Fisher, afterwards state superintendent. Mr. Scott in 1857 was elected prosecuting attorney and resided at Guttenberg. He was connected with the county treasurers office for some time. He returned to Strawberry Point in 1862 where he entered upon the practice of law. He was in the army for a while. About 1870 he moved with his family to Nebraska where he died many years ago. Mr. Scott was a good natured genial man, possessed of many talents but was his own worst enemy. But for his habits he might have been among the foremost men of our state and nation.
In 1853 John Massey built and conducted a small hotel in the east part of Strawberry Point on premises now occupied by Mr. Clements. James Massey came from Eads Grove in 1855. He purchased of his father-in-law Alex Blake, Sr., the James Alloway farm where he died in 1857. His widow afterwards married Jarvis Baker. Mr. Baker was killed while walking on the railroad track near Mr. Axtell's place by a passing train in 1876.
In 1854 the tide of immigration increased. Moses Thompson and his three sons Clark, James and Horace settled in Strawberry Point and bult the first brick building in the township, the house now occupied by Fred Schmidt. The brick was burned on the Hestwood place. Jacob Nace and Simeon Arnett came from West Virginia here. Mr. Nace settled on a farm in Section 21 and Simeon entered 800 acres afterwards sold to A. Sloan and also entered the farm owned by Mrs. Beavers north west of Strawberry Point where he built a log house and kept a small store. He moved away about 1858.
Thomas Dunsmoor, Wiliam Dunsmoor and Joseph Dunsmoor, three brothers, settled near the County corners. Mr. Carnahan settled near the covered bridge. William Nelson and Calvin Fenner settled in the south east part of the township. Nelson and Calvin Fenner on the Bartlett place and William Fenner on the Denny Culbertson place. Wm. Steward now living in Strawberry Point settled on the Sanford place and John Smith where Iowa Union creamery stood. Curtis Folsom and Alonzo Thompson located near the County corners. The Millet family located near there in 1853.
S. Joy now residing in Strawberry Point purchased of Mr. Harrow his farm just across the line in Putman township. A part of Mr. Joy's farm was in Cass township. In 1854 Joseph Hollowell settled on the Hertzmann place, Mr. McNary on the Stroud farm, Mr. Arnold on the S.A. Smith place, all across the line in Putnam.
A.M. Renwick settled on the Howes farm in west portion of the township where the same season his wife died. He afterwards moved to Strawberry Point where he engaged in the blacksmith business for many years. He died in 1872. His daughter, Mrs. [illegible] resides in Strawberry Point.
Stephen Bailey came from Michigan in 1854. His father Asuael Bailey made a visit the year previous and purchased the south three fourths of Section 36 of Lodomillo and Stephen proceeded to improve same. A house was built on the Newberry farm which place he sold to James Newberry in 1854. Mr. Bailey then built a house on the land in Section 36 Cass, which he sold to Chas. and Henry Roberts in 1855. Jackson Freeman built a house on the north east part of Section 36 which place he sold in fall of 1855 to H.N. Wood. Stephen Bailey engaged in the mercantile business in Strawberry Point for some time and about 1866 moved to Michigan. He now resides in Kipling, Montana.
A Huene entered the farm on the county line in Section 6 Honey Creek township now owned by John Wolf. Mr. Huene lived here many years. He was an excellent school teacher and good farmer. He moved back to Lorain county Ohio in 1873 where he now resides. F.R. Buckley purchased of Mr. Griffin the farm which he still owns in Lodomillo and moved on the farm in the spring of 1854, coming from Illinois with an ox team. The farm is now occupied by his son Parke Buckley.
W.B. Field settled on the Thurber farm in Lodomillo where he resided a year or two and then sold out to Mortimer Strunck and moved to Floyd county where he resided for one year and then returned to Clayton County and settled on a farm in the southeast part of Section 26. He afterwards engaged in the hardware business in Strawberry Point and about [?1892] he moved to the state of Washington and engaged in farming. He served a term as state senator there and took an active part in public affairs. He was present at the old settlers meeting last October and made an interesting and instructive address, and no one seemed to enjoy the occasion better than he did. He soon after returned to Spokane, Washington where he died within a few weeks to the regret of his many friends in this vicinity.
Ozias Clark came in 1854 and settled on the original Strawberry Point about one mile west of the town. G. Cooley, the present post master at Strawberry Point and our worthy president came in 1854 and always took an active interest in public, business and social affairs. Fowler Tarbox came the same year but returned in 1855 to Wisconsin where he remained six years. He now lives in the northwest corner of Lodomillo. Seldon Gotham settled at County corners this year in Putnam township.
Putnam township received its name in this wise ... J.L. Bruce and Soloman Joy, both among the first settlers in the township and others in 1854, before the township was organized, met to see about taking steps toward organizing the same, and it was arranged that Mr. Bruce should go to West Union and take the initiatory steps. Mr. Bruce asked Mr. Joy what name should be given the new township. Mr. Joy said he would like to have it called after his old home in Vermont, Putney. To this Mr. Bruce and others agreed, but on arriving at West Union he got the name Putnam confused with Putney, and by which name it has been known ever since.
In 1854 Robert McKinnis came to the county and purchased the Howes place of A.W. Rebuwick. He afterwards moved to the north part of Lodomillo where he remained some years. He then moved to York, Nebraska where he died a few years ago. His son John McKinnis lives near Littleport. His daughter, Mrs. J.E. Stalnaker, in Lodomillo, while his son Charles McKinnis died near Meaderville about two years ago.
Orsemus Gibson and Delos Gibson located in Lodomillo township in 1854 and both moved back to Ohio many years ago. William P. Pollard and Capt. R.A. Hale came to Lodomillo township in 1854. Mr. Pollard settled on the Morris Pugh place and resided there for a number of years. His family purchased the Weeks place on the county line where he died in 1886. He was an active, energetic man and took a deep interest in public affairs. He was justice of the peace for many years. His widow and daughter live in Strawberry Point and his son Lyle occupies the old homestead.
Capt. R.A. Hale settled on the place which continued to be his home for many years. He sold out and moved to Strawberry Point where he died, his widow and daughter now residing in Strawberry Point and his son E.L. Hale on the Beardsley farm in Lodomillo. Captain Hale was a sea captain before coming to Iowa which occupation he followed for several years previously. He enlisted in the civil war and won signal distinction for his bravery.
Chester N. Carrier came here in 1864 with Nelson and Calvin Fenner. He located on the James Smith place in Putman Township and in a few years moved to Strawberry Point where he conducted a blacksmith shop. He moved to Nebraska and died at Central City, that state, a number of years ago.
Wallis Little settled in Dubuque county in 1846 on Mission road south of New Vienna on a large farm owned by his uncle General Wilson, surveyor general of Iowa. Here he conducted a country hotel in connection with his farming business. He did a large business and many of the old settlers of Cass and adjoining townships stopped with him in going to and from Dubuque. He was perfectly deaf but could carry on a conversation simply by watching the motion of the lips of the person with whom he was conversing. He entered some land west of Strawberry Point in the fifties but did not settle on the land till 1861. He died in 1888. His sons William E., Henry and Albert, reside in Strawberry Point.
J.A. Jewett came in 1854 and located on a farm one mile north of Strawberry Point now owned by Mrs. Kirkpatrick. He lived on the farm till his death which occurred in 1892. His son Morris Jewett and his daughter, Mrs. J.M. Allen reside in Strawberry Point.
Braton Bushee came to Strawberry Point in 1855 and engaged in the stock business. He afterwards conducted a general merchandise store and for years was an active, energetic business man, a vertiable "hustler." His business methods were not the best and about 1872 he went into bankruptcy. He moved to Chicago to a part know as [En--] where he engaged in the real estate business and where he has made and lost several fortunes.
Nathan Scofield came here from Chatuauqur County, New York in 1855. He engaged as carpenter and builder for many years. He then moved to Edgewood and engaged in the mercantile business and in 1870 moved his stock of goods to Strawberry Point where he conducted a store, succeeding L.F. Carrier in business which he continued till his store burned in 1887. He was married in 1858 to Miss Harriet Noble who came to Delaware county in 1853. Mr. and Mrs. Scofield still live in Strawberry Point and have always taken a great interest in business and social affairs. Mr. Scofield is justice of the peace, an office he has filled with credit for a number of years.
G.W. Waite in 1855 settled on the farm occupied by him at County Corners. Hutchins Knight purchased the farm of Merrill Kellogg on the town line of Lodomillo now occupied by his son Myron E. Knight.
Charles Roberts, Henry Roberts and Norman Roberts purchased the Coolidge, Conner and Davis and N. Roberts farms in Section 36 in Cass of Stephen Bailey. Charles Roberts moved to Strawberry Point in 1861 where he conducted a cabinet shop and furniture business till his death in 1877, his son Chas. Roberts still continuing the business. Henry Roberts returned to Massachusetts in 1858 and was cashier of a National Bank of North Hampton for many years and where he died. Norman Roberts also returned to Massachusetts about the same time. Nelson Roberts came the same year, a small boy. He owns and occupies 120 acres in west part of Section 36, long occupied by himself and mother. His mother died about 1870.
Lewis Thompson came in 1854 and located on the Hackett place. He moved to Nebraska in 1867.
Japheth Ball purchased the Gaylord farm of the Stowe brothers in 1855 and resided there till about 1890 when he sold out to Mr. Glass. He died in 1891. His son, Albert Ball lives in Strawberry Point and his sons Frank and Stephen and his daughter, Mrs. Bailey Childers reside in Cass.
Chancy Bemis came from Ohio in 1855 purchasing the farm of Mr. Blivin on which he resided for many years. He now resides in Strawberry Point. For many years he owned the land on which this park is situated.
Robt. Carrier bought the farm in the east part of the township in 1855. Mr. Carrier died in 1884. His son L.F. Carrier resides in Strawberry Point and his son A.R. Carrier owns and occupies the old homestead.
G.M. Eder purchased a portion of his farm in north part of the township in 1855. He now resides in Strawberry Point, his two sons John and Michael occupying the farm. C.B. Roe [or O.B. Roe] settled on the farm now owned by L. Wehrang north west of Strawberry Point in 1855, coming here from Eads Grove where he resided two years previously. He sold his farm in 1898 and now resides in Arlington.
James Newberry, W.H. Bartlett and John M. Westfall and his sons Elijah and John came from Ohio in 1855. Mr. Newberry settled on the farm purchased the previous year from Mr. Bailey on the township line in Section 31 in Lodomillo where he resided until 1876 when he moved to Strawberry Point where he now lives. He still owns the farm first purchased. Mr. Bartlett settled on the northwest part of Section 36 Cass now owned by Mr. Stamp. He purchased the Nelson Fenner place about 1864 in Cass where he resided till his death in 1899. Mr. Bartlett's first wife died in 1870 and the following year he married Miss Sarah F. Conner of Delhi who came with her parents to Delaware county and settled near Delhi in 1845. Mrs. Bartlett now resides in Strawberry Point. Mr. Bartlett's son Elmer occupies the old homestead and his son Emery, a painter and business man of Cedar Rapids, died the past month.
Mr. J.M. Westfall and his two sons, Elijah and John, located in 1855 near County Corners in Buchanan county. Mr. Westfall in 18?6 moved to Strawberry Point where he resided till his death in 1885. His daughters, Mrs. James Newberry and Mrs. Walker Pollard reside in Strawberry Point. His wife died in 1887 and his son, Elijah Westfall, died in 1886. His widow and two daughters reside in Strawberry Point.
John C. Westfall engaged in the railroad business as locomotive engineer which he followed many years. He afterwards engaged in business and died at his home in Waterloo in [?1900]
E.H. Sargent came to Cass township and settled on a farm now owned by his son, E.H. Sargent, Jr. in Sec. 20. He lives in Strawberry Point.
M.O. and Erastus Barnes and their father Uncle Jimmie Barnes came in 1855 and settled on claims on Garden Prairie and afterwards removed to Strawberry Point where they engaged in business for many years. When the railroad through Strawberry Point was first agitated a company was organized at Davenort and for many years Mr. Barnes was its first vice president. Erastus Barnes engaged in live stock business which he followed for a long time. Both died anumber of years ago. Uncle Jimmie Barnes was a genial quick witted man, strong in his convictions but well liked by all. He died a few years since. His son J.C. Barnes lives in Strawberry Point.
Alonzo Haskins settled on the county line south of Strawberry Point in 1855, where he lived till his death some years ago. His brother, Asa Haskins, entered a claim just over the line in Delaware county in 1853. Asa Haskins now resides on his farm in Cass township adjoining his brother's old farm.
Erastus Grannis came to Cass township in 1855 and settled on the Hennessy place adjoining the cemetery. He died many years ago. Edward Dunton, an excellent carpenter, came to Strawberry Point in 1855. He resided here till 1877 when he moved to Nebraska. George Deindorfer and John Huebner settled in the north part of Cass about 1855. Mr. Deindorfer in 1880 moved to Jerrould county, Dakota, and Mr. Huebner has followed the business of shoe making in connection with his farming since he first located. David Strunck settled on a portion of the Buckley farm in Lodomillo. He sold about 1869 and moved to Adair county. Frederick Adams came in 1855. He was a carpet-weaver and lived on the place owned by C. Weig, near Mr. Carrier's place. He and his wife died a number of years ago.
We have heretofore spoken of Garden Prairie. The honor of giving that name to the beautiful prairie extending from the Maquoketa westward in Fayette county belongs to Mr. Nelson Fenner. In June, 1854, he traveled that prairie, beautiful with the flowers of that season of the year and covered with luxuriant vegetation of the virgin soil. To his companion he exclaimed, "This is magnificent and this locality ought to be called Garden Prairie." And that name has been applied to that section ever since. Mr. Fenner moved from Cass to Lodomillo about 1865 and for a number of years was postmaster at Edgewood. From there he moved to Oelwein and acquired quite a tract of land. The south part of Oelwein including the machine shops, are on land formerly owned by hiim. He died of cancer a few years ago.
The early settlements were all made near the timber near some stream or spring. Abundance of wood and water were the first requisites in the selection of a claim by the early pioneer and near plenty of game. Quality of soil and a ready access to the claim were secondary conditions. The early pioneers were nearly all good marksmen and had a passionate fondness for hunting and trapping. The Alloway boys, James, William and Azariah, were exceptionally good hunters and they kept their few neighbors well supplied with venison and other game "without money and without price." Many of the old settlers and their descendants have moved to other parts of our country and to distant lands. As far as we know, through their training and associations in Cass and adjoining townships all have escaped the jail and the poor house. And some have attained success and even eminence in their chosen calling. Pre-eminently first we [illegible] should name Rev. J.E. Clough who has been missionary to India since 1868, has accomplished the greatest success in his chosen field and has attained a world wide reputation for the work he has accomplished.
The two Sunderland brothers, Rev. James Sunderland of the Baptist denomination and Rev. Jabez T. Sunderland of the Unitarian denomination have attained national renown.
In the realm of education two names stand forth in bold relief, Rev. Alvah Bush for many years the head of the Cedar Valley Seminary, now deceased, and Edward G. Cooley, son of our president G. Cooley, who as the present superintendent of the Chicago schools has 6,000 teachers and more than 240,000 pupils under his supervision, one of the most responsible educational positions in this country.
Among the successful attorneys we might mention W.A. Preston of Elkader and F.J. Blake of Ft. Dodge and J.J. McCarthy of Dubuque. Among the physicians who are meeting with success we might name D.A. Foote of Omaha, Dr. F.J. Newberry of the State University at Iowa City, and Dr. James Alderson of Dubuque.
In insurance circles Major D.W. Crook and his brother, George Crook, both now deceased, occupied commanding positions in Chicago for many years.
In journalism, E.C. Gardner of Valisca, M.E. Gardner of Lansing, Mich. and H.L. Sill, night editor of the Chicago Tribune, are doing creditable work.
In business circles George L. Tremain of Humboldt, Iowa, Dexter L. Wood, of Waterloo, Iowa and Irva M. [illegible] of Dubuque and Herman J. [?French] of Davenport are fitting examples of persons attaining success in business through their own efforts.
But after all read eminence and success in this life is not measured by lofty position or dollars and cents. An unsullied character and a contented, unselfish spirit are the true measures of success whether in the lowly cabin or in the costly mansion, and without these life is not a success. May we one and all strive to possess these priceless treasures - an unsullied character and a contented and unselfish spirit. The final epitaph of the old settler is a brief one, "He came, He died." It is the epitaph of the most eminent and the most lowly. The old settler of Cass and adjoining townships has the proud satisfaction "he came" to a goodly land, and to him who by honest endeavor in making the best of his opportunities, it is a veritable land of milk and honey. A land where a total failure of crops is unknown.
The rising ground or eminence just south of the Bemis school house in the east part of Cass was early known as Mount Pisgah, one of the highest points in the township. From this eminence the early settler was not only permitted to view the promised land, the borders of which so many of our old settlers are so rapidly crossing these latter days, but may we one and all be permitted to enter and sojourn and possess.
The noon hour was passed ere the speech was finished so with the word of "dinner" everyone promptly rose to the occasion and the baskets of toothsome victuals were speedily unladen of their dainty stores, which were spread on the long tables provided down on the flat or on the plats of grass near the water's edge. At two o'clock, the program was again resumed, Mrs. Helen M. Buckley reading a short sketch, which we produce as read.
It would be vain and untrue to say that after nearly fifty years of staying, living, working right here, there was no reminiscences - nothing worth telling; coming here in life's spring-time - spring by the calendar as well - and living till one's hair is white. What has filled all these years? How is life's book that is written full to the last pages filled?
It was in April 1854 we came, just we two, with all our earthly possessions packed in a wagon drawn by oxen. How well I remember the day we arrived at our new home perfectly inexperienced in the ways of a new country; no one here we ever saw before, here we were: a log house scarcely habitable, a log stable, a little ground broken - that was all. But the land around lay in all its primal beauty ready to produce for our comfort whatever we asked of it. Such delightful air and sunshine! The very elixir of life was in it. Such health and vigor and hope was an abundant capital to begin with and work on. No antagonism between that and labor. Indeed there was the greatest harmony between them. If capital was exacting, labor was willing and faithful. It was all within ourselves. Nothing gained without struggle.
We soon found that there was much in life that was neither poetry or romance. These would neither built the houses or barns nor break the prairie nor educate the children. The children, bless them, how they helped, taking in their happy child-like way, a share of everything. After all, those were happy days and looking back from this vantage point of years I would like to go back for one day and live it again.
The neighbors too; some of you are here today but most of them are gone never to be with us again on an occasion like this. We were all young together then.
As a family we were quite isolated. Most of the neighbors had come with their relatives and could have their pleasant family gatherings, which I used to envy them.
Our mail came once a week on Saturday afternoon. Mr. White brought it from Colesburg and we eagerly watched for his coming. I well remember just how he looked in his little old wagon and bay horses. Happy were we is a letter or two came from the dear old home. We also took the Clayton County Journal and the New York Tribune, and pretty soon the New York Independent. The last two we take yet. The home letter made us a little homesick for awhile; we lived on its contents till the next Saturday. But we were here to stay, and stay we did, till the years have piled up like mountains. After all, like Phoebe Cary, I would not change them if I could.
Always busy - we had no sewing machines, every stitch in every garment had to be put in by hand; no creameries, we made our own butter and the work was double for want of conveniences. We made our own candles or used our own lard lamp, for it was before the days of kerosene. We sent no linen to the laundry and if we wanted a carpet for our living room we cut and sewed the rags colored them, and went through all the tedious process of making it.
After all, life is not much more mixed up in a new country than an old. It is a sort of mosaic everywhere; light days and dark ones, shadow and sunshine. One day this and one day that. I have no thrilling tale to tell of how the flour gave out and we were obliged to pound corn, neither can I boast of abundant luxuries. In the middle ground our road lay - always wishing, hoping and working for better things.
I have thought it would be delightful to travel in foreign lands, cross the sea and look upon the splendid works of arts and antiquity, but better still I love to be at home here in Iowa, and from this loved spot bid you all Goodbye.
Mrs. Eve Minkler of Edgewood read a very interesting paper from we extract:
In as much as [illegible] this County in the year 18??, as did [illegible words] B.W. Newberry, I am entirely capable of relating from experience [several illegible words] had a better start in life when he landed than I did, for I am told that I was then only an Eight Pound Bunch of Humanity. But, Dear Old Settlers, I stand before you today a living evidence of the truth of that old adage, "Large oaks from little acorns grow."
Dear Friends, we meet together today in this "Old settlers" meeting to listen to the stories of the early days of this Section of the country and to the papers that have been prepared on various subjuects, while it affords me pleasure, it has, as all human affairs have, mingled with it saddness for my mind goes irresistibly back to those days, and to the fathers and mothers who are forever gone; and we can hardly realize or appreciate now when our various organizations meet in Reunons, Institutes, &c, and we with our maturer years behold the solid basis of organized effort in all the avenues of life, the patient efforts and labors of the Pioneers of these counties who planted, watered and labored with [illegible] to make [illegible words] which we now call "home". Men who by the very force of their high character, wisdom, lofty and unselfish purposes, [illegible], directed and fostered the tender plans and they left us as a heritage this full grown tree of today, from whose noble trunk generous branches are spread all over our [illegible], and men and women meet together to profit from the knowledge and experience of neighbors far and near and we say we indeed living in an advanced age, and so are. But when we pause to eneumerate the many qualities which count to make them real citizen, one of which is hospitality, wonder if we really are advancing, if we [illegible] the stranger as welcome within our gates did our parents, of our doors are swung wide open to the poor for shelter that they may get nearer to the Public School for a [illegible] education. I ask, Do we cultivate the [illegible] of hospitality sown by our Pioneer Parents? If we want to advance the arts that constitute a model man or woman we must look to their example along this particular line, Oliver Goldsmith said:
"Blest be the spot where cheerful guests retire
To pause from toil and [illegible]
Blest that abode where want and pain repair
And every stranger [illegible] ready chair,
Blest be those [illegible] simple plenty crowned
Where all the ruddy faces round,
Laugh at the gests [illegible]
[illegible] with pity [illegible] mournful tale,
Or press the bashful [illegible] to his food
And learn the luxury of [illegible] good."
As I pause to think of many noble qualities which our dear [illegible] were rich in, I feel and know that I am positively incapable of representing [illegible] any way. While I consider it an honor to be called an Old Settler of Delaware county I am aware of the fact that [illegible] is only a legacy handed down to me by my Pioneer Parents who came from the state of New York [55 or 65] years ago and [illegible] Lodomillo Township on the Clayton side of the County Line. It was then the rough [illegible] wood of the west, and they set about to prepare the logs for a house in which to live. So when I landed nine years later to [illegible] their numbers, I found them building a new and commodious frame home which they moved into before I was [illegible] I remember them only at that large house with its roomy rooms [illegible] floors, the orchard and its plentiful [illegible] of apples, the well-filled barn and the [illegible] welcomes which greeted not a few visitors when I became old enough to listen with interest to the new Country Stories. The log house was seen only from the picture that hung on memory's walls, but it seems that I could remember it too for I hurd so much about that first log house, the double log house, and had I [illegible words] I have heard them tell of meeting and conversing with the "Red man" and of the wild game that [illegible] abundantly, among which were deer of several species.
I have heard my parents relate the story of how Peter Blake found and captured the dear prize of his life at their house, and I am told that some of that same species of deer are to be found along the Ridge Road running from Strawberry Point to Edgewood and two young men of Strawberry Point are still found along the trail as if in pursuit of the same.
"History repeats itself." To some the trail is long, to others it may be short. But remember this when Cupid takes aim beware, for his persistency knows no bound. HIs snare is woven from the most tender longings of th ehuman heart, his darts carry the virtue that make the citizen. It was Longfellow who said, "Cupid is ever busy with his shuttle weaving into lifes dull warp gorgeous flowers and scenes Arcadian." Dear Old Settlers, may he ever be [illegible] floating with us down the tide of ..... [paper torn - remainder of column missing] ..... down to us by them as we are for time and talent. They are and given and it is our duty to make use of them, for we will have to turn them to account. There is opportunity for us to work in all the fields of progress.
Here Mrs. Minkler made a very strong plea for more forceful work along the temporance line, this cause, she said, being one of the greatest problems of the day. She eulogized in beautiful language the efficient labors of Frances Willard and the White Ribbon army of the world. "All the progress that hareves been made in civilization has been due to principals of truth and right that have been put into action by the minority at first."
And in speaking of the progress we will make in the next fifty years, she said that in all probability the last century with its glorious advancement seems to the old settler but
"Yesterday out on the prairies greed
With the oxen yoked and the chain between
Drawing the sturdy oak beam plow
They turned the furrow 'twist then and now
Never again on the virgin sod
Shall the wild rose answer the daisy's nod.
Never again like billows east
Shall blue joint answer the summer blast.
Never again shall we see at the dawn
The red deer leading her speckled fawn
Alas! for the grey wolf's mighty howl.
And the tragic voice of the mournful owl!
They shall meet them perhaps not ever again
For furrows are cast twixt now and then,
At the other side of the virgin sod
They look to-day and wisely nod.
At the splendid fields of growing grain
Orchards and vineyards in endless train
Houses and barns the very best
Churches and schools and all the rest.
Instead of the little country store
The city with all our wants and more,
Instead of the cart and the old ox team
The lightning express train run by steam,
Surreys, phaetons carts if you like
Everything down to a chainless bike.
Sometimes I wonder if youth at its best
Sips the joys of life with livlier zest
In those days of lighting Compressed air and steam
Then in the good days of the old ox team.
They are glad that our sons and daughters too
Are born in this age of inventions new,
Glad that our boys can ride today
When they plow the field and rake the hay
Glad that our daughters take rank and place
In schools of learning and works of grace
They know just why both orchard and vine,
Herd of cattle and sheep and swine
And all these splendid fields of grain
Completely cover this vast domain.
They know why all the cabins are gone
And the splendid homes with well kept lawn
Have sprung like magic from vale and hill
They know for they planned and worked with a will,
They know why our boys are in college now
They may if they will still follow the plow,
But the school and college give finish, you know.
And this the desired, they had planned it so
It is not mere [illegible] that our girls can play
Piano and organ so well today.
It is all a part of the common plan,
The perfect woman, the finished man.
If they have been led by the hand of God
To do this work, they can smile and [illegible]
At all the changes that come their way
For they know very well it will surely pay.
The Glee club rendered the frist of three very enjoyable selections given during the afternoon and were followed by Mrs. Elizabeth Blake who gave an account of her first three months experiences in Iowa in the following:
It is rather laughable to think of me at my time in life appearing on the platform as one of the speakers of the day. But as I think very little of apologies on such occasions, I will offer none. I was requested to give at this meeting some of my experiences in my early life in Iowa. I have been called upon many times to give my experience on the spiritual side of life but never before on the temporal side; therefore hardly know where to begin. And I doubt not it will be the same old story with the variations.
I was born in Galena, Jo Daviess county, Illinois, near the home of General Grant. In the year 1853, while yet in my teens, I came with my elder sister and her husband to Iowa. We started the first day of May. I walked part of each day and helped drive the cattle. The first day I walked too much, it made me sick, and at night we stopped at a house, supposed to be a hotel, called the "Traveler's Rest" and I was glad of the rest. The bed they assigned to me was so damp, it gave me the croup. I was subject to croup in my early days when I caught cold. The people where we put up for the night, had a large washing spread upon the bushes, clothes lines being scarce, and perhaps bed linen being scarce, too, they took the sheets off the bushes and put them on the bed without ironing. That accounted for the dampness and my croup. But it didn't prove fatal as you can all testify.
The town we had in view was called Yankee Settlement, but we settled a number of times before we found the Yankee part. We settled so deep and solid sometimes we had to get help to unsettle. I remember one time we had to go a long way over the prairie to get help to pull us out of one settlement - the country being sparsely settled but sloughs and mud holes were in abundance.
But after many days we arrived weary and worn at a little town with one small store kept by Joseph Belknap, called Yankee Settlement. We stopped at this little town for a while to rest our teams and see the sights. Sister and I thought we would go into the store and see how it looked inside. I can remember just as well as if it was yesterday what I saw. The store was not much larger than some of our pantries and at the place you entered there was along the was a few shelves, on which was one piece of bed ticking, one of bleached muslin, three pieces of print, one roll of crash towelling, some candles, tea, soda, and starch. There might have been more but I do not remember seeing anything more. While we were in the store, Mr. Jariah Alloway came in - my brother-in-law had met him in the winter when he was building his log cabin - and as we were going his way, he acted as guide through the timber. By the time we reached Bear Creek it was dark and I bacame sorely afraid to walk with the cattle for fear bears or Indians might spring out of the bushes and devour me and the cattle, for there was a dense growth of under brush as well as heavy timber. I climbed into the wagon and felt more at ease. About 9 o'clock we arrived at Mr. Alloway's home and he took us in for the night, and a right hearty welcome they gave us. In a very short time Mrs. Alloway had supper ready, which consisted of cornbread, stewed venison, maple syrup and coffee, and we relished it amazingly. The next thing was to find sleeping room for so many, the house being so small - just one room and ten to sleep. But we shoved the tables and chairs to one side and made beds on the floor. That was the way we slept the first night. In the morning we had to clear the room before we could get breakfast.
And when I took in the surroundings in the morning light it made me home sick. I would have gladly gone back with the teamsters had it not been for my sister, for about all I could see was great tall trees and a patch of blue over head. But I made up my mind to stay a few weeks and then go home. I found going home was a difficult thing to do as there were no railroads and no stage nearer than Dubuque, so I kept on staying and after a year or so, made up my mind that Iowa was a pretty good place to live after all, and I still think so.
After we had been here a few weeks my sister and I came to the Point to make a few purchases; she drove the oxen, that being all the team we had, and when we arrived at the store, there being but one we found about the same display that we saw at Mr. Belknap's. Only Mr. Sterns, who kept the store, had a few boots and shoes and two pieces of print, the color of one dark brown with black polkadots, the other light brown with black polkadots. Mr. Sterns' store was situated on the corner where Mr. Cameron now keeps drug-store. It was a log building with two rooms; one was the living room, the other the store. Where Strawberry Point is now situated, at that time was mostly wild prairie, with only three or four houses. If I remember correctly there was one black smith shop kept by Elder Baker. That and the one little store were all the business houses Strawberry Point could boast of at that time.
The first time I attended church in Iowa I rode three or four miles in an ox wagon.
The first celebration I attended in Iowa was in '53 held at Delhi. I was invited to go with a party of young people from Chipman Hollow. We got everything in readiness and the night previous, and all met at one place and sat up al night so as to get an early start. We started about three o'clock in the morning, eight of us in one lumber wagon, with poles as springs. Some of you know what they are. But we had rather a poor team. And we had to walk up the Chipman hill because the team could not pull us up. Well I thought to myself, this is one way to celebrate, walking up the hills. It was a little different than the way I had been used to going to such places. Well, of course we got to the top and reloaded. It was yet quite dark, but we got along very well until about half a mile south of what is known as the Fisher farm, where we broke down. One of the wheels smashed down and we went down too. It was hardly day light out but the boys had to go and find [illegible] to stand in the wet grass, which was nearly waist high. The roads being new there were only wheel tracks. After a long delay we started on our journey and about one o'clock we arrived at Delhi. The celebration ground was on the banks of Silver Lake, where perhaps 75 or 100 people had assembled. While there the Chipman part of our company found some cousins who lived near Colesburg. They thought the best and nearest way for us to get home would be for us to go home with them stay all night and take an early start in the morning, some of our party thought so too, so we went. After traveling over miles and miles of prairie, all looking the same to me, we arrived at these cousins' home. The next morning one of our horses was so lame he could not travel so we had to lay over all that dday, but of the third day we reached home to find my sister wild with anxiety at my long absence. She met me at the door and said "Where in the world have you been?" I said I didn't know only that I had been to the celebration at Delhi and had traveled over a vast deal of Iowa prairie, but did not know where to.
These are just a few incidents which occurred during my first year in Iowa. Since that time it has been settled up with a grand and good people. Railroads have been built, runing nearly all over the state which makes traveling very easy.
We have great advantages in the educational line, in fact we have nearly everything heart could wish.
Therefore my friends, let us remember the source from whence they came. And to the old pioneers and old settlers, we may never all meet again on such an occasion as this, but let us live that the coming generations can say that Iowa has been made at least a little better by us having lived here.
S. Joy spoke briefly and our reporter because of being without hearing distance, was unable to take notes - the speech being an impromptu one - but from the nods and smiles from those nearer Mr. Joy we know his remarks were well made.
R.J. Bixby of Lodomillo township very cunningly attempted to escape the portion of entertaining assigned to him but was urged into the line of duty to the pleasure of all who heard him. He began by complimenting the speeches already delivered, he directed compliments humourous and hearty to that favorite son of both the old and new settler, B.W. Newberry, and then continuing said that although this gathering was in the nature of a gala day, a festive occasion, yet it reminded him of the story of the mother who, upon boarding a city street car with her little family of twelve children, was asked by the inquisitive conductor "Madam, are all these your children or is this a picnic?" and to which the response came with some asperity, "Sir, these are all my children and I'd have you to understand it's no picnic either." So with this day, while it was a day of celebration still when the old settler was passing through the hardships over which they gained the victory, then it was no picnic. "The old settler was very careful in all his bargain-making; the neighbors of that time were very accommodating", said Mr. Bixby and in corroboraton of both statements he told some well turned tales that we all are laughing ever yet. The day, too, had its social features and most important in this was the public school, a pleasant sociability being maintained through the teachers who "boarded around". We have given but little idea of Mr. Bixby's speech, the anecdotes and many interesting sentences being minus in our note book.
Music by the glee club prepared the way for the speech of Hon. G.L. Tremain:
I had thought to make some notes of the topics on which I would speak at this time and not read a paper, but others have requested me to write out what I would say, and I here warn you that I may, in my exuberance of feeling, for a time lay the notes aside. Some of the rich experience of my early life in this Township may prove too much for my pen.
I can assure you young people that not all the fun of living came with the advent of the railroad or more modern civilization. I can assure you, my fellow-citizens, that it affords me much satisfaction to meet with you here. I cheerfully lay aside my business and its cares to be here with you and to try, as we may, to live over again some incidents of our early life in Iowa.
We miss many who would have been active participants in our proceedings and as the years roll on more will drop out to join the great majority. The more need, the, my old neighbors, that we support this movement, that we get together annually and look into each other faces, shake each others hands and recount some of the experiences in which we had a mutual interest.
I left Chautauqua county, N.Y., in the fall of 1845, driving a team through to Adams Co. Illinois. Fever and ague were so prevalent in that country that we moved north to Belvidere in the spring of 1846 and from Belvidere to Cass township in the spring of 1850. Our family consisted of my parents, two younger brothers, A.D. White's and Lin Gardner's families: Mrs. White and Mrs. Gardner were half sisters of mine. I am not sure where we would have stopped but for the kindly welcome given us by Pap and Mam Betts, who then lived in a cabin near Mr. Axtell's present farm. Oh, who can tell the far reaching results of a pleasant word, a smile and a cordial welcome. Possibly, had Mr. and Mrs. Betts been as gruff and cold as the average emigrant meets, this historian would have been lost to Cass township; a different career would been left to me - my name might have been Dennis; but everything Pap and Mam had was at our service. "Come right in, we have lots of room," and I can now easily recall the pleasant feelings I had over the end of our journey. Here was Government land, timber and water. Surely this was the promised land. We moved into the front room; we occupied the parlor, sitting room, and bed room. Pap and Mam occupied the other rooms. Later, I aim to inform you, there was but one room in the cabin, with a big fire place in one end, but hospitality was not then measured, any more than now, by the number of rooms at your disposal.
I took account of stock the next day. We were about to begin anew, embark in a new enterprise and then, as now, it was well to invoce and see how we stood. We had a yoke of oxen, one horse, one wagon, two cows, a half barrel of salt pork, a barrel of flour, two dollars and fifty cents in money and grit, keen grit enough to last a year. If there was another pound of pork in the township, Mr. Tracy must have had it. Ours soon went and the flour went too, but the grit, it lasted. In fact, my old-time and new time friends, it's not all gone now.
My first move towards improving this country was to clear out a road from the foot of the hill where I am told Thos. Scott now lives, about a mile and a half along where the Elkader road runs, to where a certain fine white oak grove, owned by an uncle of ours, where [illegible] the logs and from where I hauled them to build Lin Gardner a cabin. That cabin was afterwards moved to the Point and rebuilt near the Sherwood place and was, I think, Strawberry Point's second Post-office. Lin Gardner was Postmaster.
We depended on Yankee Settlement for a Post-office until about 1851. A weekly mail came to Yankee Settlement where we got our Fredonia Censor and occasionally a letter. We had some correspondents East who were thoughtful enough to prepay the postage on their letters. In those days the postage might be paid at either end of the route. We were not, strictly speaking, a reading community then, or rather we read everything we had and for want of something new re-read the old. I may here confess that I read in those days one certain good Book more than I have since.
It is worth mentioning that in those days postage was rather high, too high for frivolous letters, to the pioneer who had no money. You may readily think that when I came from Southern Illinois here, a young man of 17, I cautioned my best girl to write fine and close and she took the hint and wrote but seldom.
In 1851 a Mr. Woods came here and proposed to start a store. I made his acquaintance early. He selected a site on the ground now occupied by the Williams Drug Store. I arranged with him to build his building. I was blossoming out as a contractor, carpenter and joiner. I called on that same grove of white oaks - our uncle had found no fault with our former call, and I cut and hauled the logs for Strawberry Point's first store. I helped raise the store and Mr. Woods goods came on, not by the car load, but about a wheelbarrow load besides one suspicious looking package. As I now recall it there was one keg of nails, 3 axes, a few bolts of calico and a barrel of whisky. Scant as his stock was it was entirely beyond the means of the settlement to pay for. How others got goods I never knew. I had built his store and took goods, and the next season I broke ten acres for him, for more credit at the store, and the next winter, having broken my last ax, I called on Mr. Woods and arranged to cut, split and stump for him 400 rails for an ax. I went to the woods north of the Point into one of that same Uncle's best groves and put 400 good rails on the stump and carried home one of Mr. Woods' axes.
Here permit me to moralize a bit. I have never been able to recall a trade or a deal that afforded me more real satisfaction than making those 400 rails for an ax. Some of our young people may think I paid a big price for an ax. From the standpoint of today, I did. From the standpoint of then, it was a good bargain. I had lost my ax all my capial in the business of getting out rail timber. I had no money. Mr. Woods wanted nothing we had to spare but my labor, and I had an inexhaustible supply of that on hand and as I now see it, had he said 600 or 800 rails I would have jumped at the bargain. It is evident we do not estimate the importance or satisfaction of our transactions by their size. The late A.R. Loomis once told me the most pleasing and enjoyable business transaction of his life was when a farmer offered to board him and give him 50 cents a hundred for making rails. He was out of money and hungry and such an offer was timely.
I remember Mr. Woods' keg of nails. They were 8-penny nails, and no matter whether you wanted 4's, 6's or 20's; 8's were the size you had to take. He sold them at 12 1/2 cents per lb. I at one time took to him four dozen eggs and took home a pound of nails.
I am unable to tell the date of the first election in Cass but the incident is fresh in my mind. I held a hat while my father, William, James and Asa Alloway and Mr. Tracy voted. It was an honest, fair election, and I hope Cass has followed the example then set.
The question may be in the mind of some of you how we got along for meat after that half barrel of pork was gone. I can assure you it did not last long. It was divided among the settlers, none of whom had a pound. I think we went through the summer and fall without meat but when winter came we were provided for. All three of the Alloway were hunters. Asa was a fine shot and our first winter here he killed 60 deer and everyone killed was taken to some settler's cabin, the hide being all he wanted.
You must not think the philosophers all came here with the advent of the more modern civilization. We had them with us early. I recall the sage remark of one man. There was a great scarcity of pork and beans. John Cooley had some pork but no beans. He proposed to a neighbor who had beans but no pork, that they cook them together. Then, says John, "Your beans will taste of pork, and my pork will taste of beans."
The current of our lives sometimes turns on minor or unimportant events. At one time a Strawberry Point merchant told me he wanted my account settled and wanted my trade no more. I recognized his right to his position, but it galled me beyond forgetting. I went home firmly determined to take such a course as would lead to no repetition of such a humiliation, and I think I succeeded.
I might go on telling you of other incidents of early days in Cass but I think best to save something for future meetings of early settlers. We raised some good crops and some poor ones. We often lost heavily by prairie fires, but we hung on and on until we made this country blossom. We have done our share by patient toil and care to make this the best state in the union. We made no great pretense, we done nothing great or marvelous, but the steady blows we dealt day by day, year in and year out, made this country a good place to live. We have raised big wheat and corn and oats and we have astonished other countries with our butter, but the crops we have raised that have made us our fair name is our crop of men and women. Possibly other countries have raised more brilliant men or women, but of the faithful plodders, the average man and woman, the kind that will do to tie to, the kind that rule our Country, the sort of people into whose hands our destiny as a Nation may be safely intrusted, of our crop of such we may well be proud.
Thirty-nine years ago this month we met at West Union and nominated for Congress a mild mannered, diffident, bashful young man from Dubuque. He could think in plain homely English. He is still in Congress, using that same quality of plain common sense, and today no man stands higher in the estimation of civilized countries. All hail to the common people.
Mr. Tremain was among old friends, who were very glad to hear and see him again and his short paper was an interesting one from beginning to end.
Mrs. Rev. Crum also spoke during the afternoon, her remarks being a thanksgiving for the blessings bestowed both upon and by the old settler. She closed with a call for a tiger and a hip-hip-hurrah, which was heartily given by the audience.
Joesph Marsh of Fairfield township followed and his paper though short was full of instruction. He said:
We came to Iowa in November, 54, landing at McGregor. There were but few houses there. We hired a team to take us to Volga City where we lived one year, then moved on to land I bought of the Government after I had built a small house. Our first winter in Iowa was delightful, with but very little snow. I was induced to come west to regain my health and I used to tramp over Volga's hills and through timber on its banks, until I could eat like a plowman. Game of all kinds was abundant, and by spring I had regained my health. Volga was small but we found a few congenial Eastern people and never before or since have we spent a more delighful winter. Our neighbors were very kind and we enjoyed roughing it. I bought two lots where the Methodist Episcopal Church now stands. I wanted to build, but could get no timber, only a board of this man, or that, as they were getting logs sawn at the very slow mill there. Sol. Gould rented it of his brother Bill. I put up a small Shanty of native lumber by New Years, for we could get no pine nearer than Dubuque.
In that little 10X12 the Masons organized the first lodge in Volga. I went to work in Dubuque but came home to help celebrate the first Fourth of July Volga ever had. It was a fine day, and a big crowd for those days. Squire Gould was orator and there was a parade, with music consisting of one Violin, a Fife, and I think an acordian, a public dinner, and soon after a dance commenced in the New Hotel, built by John Love, on the corner lot adjoining ours. They danced until daylight. During that fall, I cut logs and hauled them to the new Saw Mill at Taylorville, put up a frame 14X16 and moved into it in November.
There was nothing exciting that occurred until the Money Crisis of '57 and '58 came, and a great Indian scare, known as the Spirit Lake Massacre, the news of which was brought here by some of those who had fled from the neighborhood of those horrors. My wife's sister, husband, and four children were living with us, he working for us. They were fearfully scared over the report and wanted a settlement, so as to return to his old home in Massachusetts. I found we owed him $1000. There were no banks or money here, and I doubt if there was that amount of cash in Fairfield Territory. He was determined to leave and started to Dubuque with two yoke of oxen, with feed for them and myself, the oxen I intended to sell were [illegible] fat, but when I reached Dubuque, and found a friend, a butcher, to whom I expected to sell, imagine my shagrin when he said he did not believe there was that much money in the City. The best men could not be trusted for anything. Many had pawned their plate to procure provisions for their families. This I know for fact. In traveling main Street, I did not meet or see a team, where, when I worked there, was a very busy town, its streets thronged with teams. Now it was deserted, all hired help was discharged and many of the store keepers stood at their places of business with their hands in empty pockets. It was very depressing and after a number of unsuccessful attempts to find a purchaser I returned home, and my brother-in-law bought the oxen and rented a farm. That year crops failed, and with wild oats, no money, no flour, no selling of farms, we had to stay.
In referring to this story of Fayette County I find the following Order of the County Commissioners of Clayton County record August 26, 1841. Ordered that the reort of Calvert Roberts, Sam [illegible] and Joseph Hewitt, Commissioners appointed by the legislature of Iowa to locate from Dubuque to Ft. Atkinson, be received, and they allowed the sum of $40.50 each for services in running said Road through Fayette and Clayton County and Alfred L. Brown be allowed the sum of $40.50 as surveyor of said road, and also the sum of $8.00 for draughting plat, being extra services. Also Allen Wilson and Moses Hewitt chainmen be allowed the sum of twenty-seven dollars cash, and also Geo. Culver as marker be allowed the sum of $27.00 and Franklin L. Wilcox, as stake driver be allowed the sum of $16.00 and that Joseph Hewitt be allowed the sum of $20.25 for services of team.
Taylorville, Fairfield Territory. This village was located on Section 22, Township 92 R 7 and was laid out by Jared Taylor. The first breaking was done by M.C. Sperry in 1846. Dr. Taylor settled near there in 1851 and began the practice of Medicine. A steam Saw Mill was built by Wm. Stevenson in 1854.
A song by the Glee club and the benediction pronounced by Mrs. Reverend Crum closed the program for the most happy and successful reunion ever attended by ye scribe in an experience of such reunions in four other counties. We doubt if Clayton county ever had one more satisfactory from all points of excellence as the one of Thursday. We encore the gentlemen in charge that they may again give us such a day of pleasure.
Notes by the Way ----- Much praise is due President Cooley and his co-workers for their able work in arranging this day. Mr. Cooley is one upon whom such perfomances fall easily because he is capable in their execution. Many were the words of commendation heard for B.W. Newberry - and they were his due - for the comforts of his woodland home and for his help in the entertainments of the day.
Stands of sandwiches, cold drinks and Cameron & Spangler's delicious ice cream were conducted by Alex Blake and Ross Cameron.
Home grown watermellons were a delicacy sold on the grounds by a Lamont gentleman.
It would be very hard to estimate the number attending the reunion. The audience seats were filled and the woods were full of happy friends.
A number who were t have given short talks were absent to the program was considerably shortened.
An open buggy in which five were riding lost a wheel on the start home when just in front of the cottage and the occupants were tumbled out, all happening to fall on the elderly Mr. Bemis. It was first thought he was badly hurt, but after a short rest the load continued on their homeward way.
Mrs. Crum's hurrah was a cheerful vent to our lively spirits. Little Miss Genie Williams, very anxiously enquired if Mr. Marsh, who succeeded Mrs. Crum, would not also say "rah". Had she had her way with the days program it would have been one grand series of cheering "rahs".
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