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Greene County IAGenWeb


Past and Present of Greene County, Iowa

Pioneer Marriages and Births

The first marriage license issued in this county reads as follows, and was issued and signed by Judge William Phillips. Modern marriage permits show no special literary excellence as compared with this clear-cut license:

“This Court has, this 4th day of September, A. D. 1854, granted license for the marriage of Moses Bowers and Mahala Young, and not being acquainted with the parties, Charles Hathaway was sworn and declared them both of age and of sound mind; whereupon the Court issued license for the marriage of the above
mentioned parties.”

The second license was to David Rogers and Margaret Young, issued October 19, 1854. Judge Phillips solemnized the marriage.

In connection with this connubial business, as in many other respects, Judge Phillips was a man of excellent spirit and exceeding good will as is evidenced by many of his acts. This is a case in point. One afternoon a not overly well-dressed couple presented themselves to be married. The groom, not wishing to be caught napping, at least on the financial side of his obligations, said: “Judge, what do you charge for marrying folks?” The oflicer addressed smilingly remarked that the law allowed him a dollar and a half for such a service. The man seemed satisfied and said further proceedings were in order. After the knot had been firmly tied, the groom said: “Judge, you told me the law gives you a dollar and a half for doing such a job as this. Now, I don’t want to be small with you, so here’s half a dollar. That with the dollar and a half the law gives you, makes you two dollars. I allow that’s pretty good pay.” The judge took the “half” and the twain silently went away minus an audible blessing. In telling the story he said it might have been worse.

The first child born on the present city plot was loyally named Adah Jefferson, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George S. Walton. The first child born in the present incorporation was a daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Columbus Peak, and the second was Charles M. Culley, long identified with the business interests of this city, and at present a prosperous businessman of Marshalltown, with promising grandchildren bearing his name. He was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. John M. Culley, now living in Pocahontas county. He was a pioneer farmer of Jackson township and sacrificed a small fortune in attempting to develop a coal field in the ’Coon valley. There was no lack of coal, nor was there of water, and the last named agency literally drowned the otherwise hopeful enterprise.

From Past and Present of Greene County, Iowa, by E. B. Stillman,
Chicago, Illinois: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1907

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