Early History of Dallas County
An excerpt from Past and Present of Dallas County by Prof. R. F. Wood
(Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1907)
Early histories and reports from old settlers differ as to who was the 'First Settler' in Dallas county.
From the most reliable sources now available it is believed that two brothers, Daniel and Lewis Stump, who came and staked out claims in Van Meter township in the fall of 1845, were the first bonafide settlers of the county. In February of 1846 their sister Mary and brother John came out to make their home with them. John Wright also came out early in the winter of 1845 but returned to the East and moved out with his family in March, 1846.
In January, 1846, Samuel Miller, William Miller and Eli Smithson took claims on the opposite side of the river, east from the present town of Adel. John Miller, a son of William Miller, came in March, 1846, and selected for his claim the land now occupied in part by the county seat. He finally turned over to the county the town site upon which was built the first town of the county. In February, 1846, Levi Wright and his brother James Wright, the latter a deaf mute remembered by many of the old settlers for his fun loving proclivities and his ability as a mimic, took claims on Sect 16, township 78, range 27, now owned by Jacob Van Meter.
Tristram Davis and John Longmire selected claims in the present limits of Adamstownship in February, 1846. Several other settlements in other parts of the county were made in the spring of this year. Settlements were made on the North "Coon" by George and Shubal Haworth, John and William Ellis. About the same time came Noah Staggs, Henry Garner, Mr. Clark, Henry Stump, Greenbury Coffin, William McCubbin, James W. Black, John Juvenaugh, Henry Busic, George Gresham, John Johnson, William Brown, James Moore, John Crane and Nathan Moore.
In Adams township besides Tristram Davis and John Longmire, already mentioned, were John Davis, Levi Davis and George S. Hills.
The settlement near the present town of Adel was soon joined by Eli, Isaac, Martin and Jesse Miller, Isaac Trilby, William Galway and Joseph Corbell.
In the northeast part of the county near the Des Moines river, O. D. Smalley settled in May, 1846, and for some time was the only settler in that part of the county. In the fall of that year he had for near neighbors, John and David Spear, Jerry Evans, Judge McCall and Samuel Ramsey. By the close of the year 1846 it is estimated that some sixty or sixty-five persons were living in the county.
During the years of 1847 and 1848 many new settlers came to the county. J.C. Goodson and William Boone settled near the river in Boone township. S. K. Scovell, Horatio and Barney Morrison, Chelsea Shelton, Isaac Magart, James and Thomas Butler, Chris Fowler, Jeff. Jones, Rud. Lathrop, Thomas Drummond, William and Daniel James, Anderson Kelley, E. J. Fowler, Ira Sherman, John and Valentine Cline and Benjamin Greene settled near Penoach, now called Adel. In 1847 George Garroutte, Harvey Adams, Zebin Babcock and Judge Burns settled in what is now Sugar Grove township.
In 1848 settlements were made in the present limits of Washington township by John Sullivan, James McLane, Jacob Winters, Samuel Mars and John S. Samies.
Union township was also first settled in 1848. Humphrey Smith and Henry Owens settled there in the spring of 1848, and erected a mill near the mouth of Cottonwood creek. Following them came Leroy Lambert, David Daily, John Hayes, Elisha Morris, Mr. Wilcox, John F. Willis and Uriah Stotts.
In 1850 Samuel Carpenter, James Brooks, W.W. Harper and others located in what is now Linn township.
The land on which the town of Redfield now stands was entered by Patrick, Thomas and Michael Cavenaugh, who laid out a town on that site in 1852-53, which they called New Ireland.