John Clemens

Editor Register:

We have read with great pleasure the interesting letters written by the old pioneers telling of the early history of our county. Robert M. Finlayson has surely proven himself to have extraordinary ability as a narrator of natural and human events pertaining to the early settlers. We knew Robert M. Finlayson and his brother George when they first came to Marshall county in the fall of 1868. We had already been here over four years and our wife was here twelve years before the Finlayson brothers, or since 1856.

During the winter of 1868 and 1869 I attended a school taught by George Finlayson in the old Sub-District No. 4 in Marion township, Marshall county, Iowa, four miles northeast of Marshalltown. We have never met George since the close of that school in the spring of 1869, and for a long time we never knew what had become of the Finlayson boys, until Robert was elected County Auditor.

We have had a great deal of experience ourself along the same line of danger and trouble as written by Mr. Finlayson. We have seen great volumes of smoke rolling up from prairie fires, and the sky at night was a light of crimson red for miles and miles to the north of where we lived.

We know something, too, about mireing and swampy sloughs, especially when we tried to drive a mule team across to the other side. Mules are generally very suspicious of swampy sloughs. They want to turn back about two rods before they get up to it.

What Mr. Finlayson has written would make fine history or literature if printed in book form so as to be kept and read by future generations of Grundy county.

Mr. Finlayson has proven himself to be a close and shrewd observor of things seen and heard. Others might see and hear the same things, but the world would never know a thing about it.

John Clemens, Beaman

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 3 April 1924, pg 10