Mrs. H. C. Miller

Came to Grundy Co. 66 Years Ago

As I am always interested in hearing what the old settlers have to say, I thought I would write some of my recollections of pioneer times.

I came with my parents from Lee County, Illinois. We came through with an ox team and were two weeks on the road. Father drove the oxen, my two step-brothers drove the young cattle and I often helped drive them, although I was young.

The evening of Sept. 30, 1857, we reached the Jacob Glass home and stayed there all night. Father and his oldest son made the trip out in the spring and built the house. The doors and windows they brought from Illinois. They also broke prairie, raised some sod corn, built a shed covered with hay, and dug a well, not a large job those times. The son stayed at the Glass home while father came back for the family. The next morning we left the Glass home and went a mile west to our home, one mile south of the Grundy county line, in north central Vienna township. Father unloaded the family and wagon and started the same day for Iowa City, the nearest shipping point, to get our household goods. The county seat of Marshall county at that time was Marietta, and the nearest doctor was Albion or Marshalltown. There were a few families settled along Wolf Creek: Cheney Thomas and family were the first settlers, later George Walter, Jacob Glass, Harrison Brooks, Simon Clay, after whom Clay township was named and the Monlux family came. A little later the Sharps settled at Conrad Grove, in 1858, the Van Nesis came to the McMartin farm, the Beamans came in 1860 and in 1863 the Miller's came, but there weren't many changes until after the civil war. My mother was anxious about schools, but we always had school a part of each year.

In the summer of 1858 there was a small building on the Cap Sargent farm and the pupils from Conrad and our settlement attended school there. Geo. Wilbur was our teacher. We had school in log houses until 1860, when the old Beaman school house was completed. It stood one-fourth mile east of our consolidated school. Then our community business took on new life, we were all neighbors and were always patriotic. Conrad and our settlement took turn about with July 4th celebration and there was no rivalry.

Then came the civil war. My step-brother, Joseph Vincent, and Sam Sharp were the first to enlist from here. The Sharp boys went through the war and came back, but my brother was killed on the battlefield at Pea Ridge, Mo. There were a good many who went from here before the close of the war. It was an anxious time for the parents, as there was no daily mail. I have been permitted to see many changes. By the time there was grain to haul there was a railroad at Waterloo. It took two days to make the round trip. Father bought the first kerosene lamp in the community; the oil was $1 per gallon. Then in 1863 the Northwestern railroad reached Marshalltown; really, that was near. In the fall of 1869 I changed my location to one mile north of Beaman and have lived there ever since, until the last 22 years we have lived in Beaman. We had one notable fourth of July, 1872. It was during the Grange movement and Tama Jim Wilson was the orator of the day. A very large crowd attended. The celebration was held in a grove southeast of Beaman on the farm now owned by T. P. Evans. We also had a bus line in the early 70's. Uncle Solon Beaman had a contract for carry the mail from Marshalltown to Grundy Center, with a stop over at his home. He also carried passengers. It was quite a convenience. There have been many changes and all for the better. Perhaps these things are not of much interest, only to the old settlers, as we are inclined to live in the past.

Mrs. H. C. Miller, Beaman

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 7 February 1924, pg 6