Mt. Pleasant's First City Election 1851


  A few years prior to his untimely death, Thomas McMillan, city manager, spent many hours pouring over the early official city records, and jotting down an abstract of the varied actions of the city council. Mr. McMillan's notes range from the spring of 1851 to the summer of 1885, and spanning the growth of the community from that early date to its maturity. Reviewing the privileges we now enjoy in this rather old town, the facts found in the picture of the early days of the town seem fantastic and primeval.

However, if one reads these glances a the early days of the community, remembering that nearly a hundred years have slipped away since the town assumed a corporate body, we will find ourselves growing sympathetic with those men and women who led the struggle to make the community conform to the pattern they had dreamed.

We read of ordering the brush cut out of the public square; cutting the weeds down in the city cemetery; the fight for plank sidewalks about the square; bridges over the branches which flowed through town. The eternal fight on whiskey; the demands for a water supply and fire protection; the purchase of pens in which to place cattle and hogs, picked up on the public streets; the lack of funds to pay city expenses.

Mr. McMillan starts his record with the call for the first election by citizens of the community, following re-incorporation in 1851. As we move along over the long road the town has traveled for 94 years, this writer may throw in added information that will clarify some of the legislation of those old city councils, especially for the benefit of the younger and newer citizens of Mt. Pleasant.

The names of the 117 voters listed below, as voting at the town's first city election, contains many familiar to all of us, a few children and many grandchildren, and great grand-children are still active about us..

Mt. Pleasant's First City Election

Records of the Town Council of the Town of Mt. Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa. Organized in conformity  to an act of the Legislature of the State of Iowa approved February 5th, 1851.

Poll Book of an election held in Henry County, Iowa, on the 7th day of April, A.D., 1851, to elect officers of the corporation of Mt. Pleasant. Reuben Beers, Clerk. M.C. Shaw, Henry Savage, James Craig, Judges.

I certify that the above Judges and Clerk of election were duly sworn before me on the 7th day of April, A.D., 1851.

                                    John P. Grantham,
                                   Clerk of District Court
                                            Henry Co, Ia.

Names of Voters

John T. Norton, Leonard Farr, John S. Bartruff, Jacob Dice, Daniel Bates, Michael Myers, E.S. Hill, O.P. Howe, Wm. Dodge, Harris Palmer, Thos. Mathews, B.F. Pixley, James B. Williford, Collin Forbes, Ambrose Rucker, Rueben Mason, Orthneel Marsh, E. Beers, Jonathan O'Donnell, Reuben Allen, Belfield Davis, Titus V. Taft, John T. Robison, Wm. R. Hill, I.B. Jobs, Jacob Douglass, T.P. Mathews, David Elliott, George Lines, Marshall Lines.

W.S. Viney, C.M. Snyder, Washington Wykoff, Harvey Ray, M.L. Edwards, John Charles, George Walker, John H. Randolph, Lewis VanPelt, Orville Porter, Lampton Tucker, Thomas ?ulan, Herman Higgins, Wm. Lash, John Bowman, J.L. Wingate, G.G. Galloway, Wm Elliott, Elijah Rockhold, ?. Co??er, H.F. Newton, H.H. McMillan, James Farmer, James Craig, Wm. A Sanders, John Craig, Jesse Smith, E. ? Ogg, J.W. Springer, Wm. Lines.

Henry Savage, H.C. Sanders, Edward Thompson, Alexander Hoover, Jeremiah Maling, A.W. Rodgers, L.S. Palmer, Wellington Bird, John Lumbeck, John A. Higgins, James Higgins, John Tyner, Henry Rudd, I.N. Porter, John Shriver, T.E.V. Farris, J.W. Bird, M. C. Shaw, Jacob Houseman, George Moore, George Drennen, C.S. Clark, P.G. Carson, W.W. Harper, Dan P. Gass, A. McKinney, Haynes Forbs, E. Darling, Lewis Duylt.

R. Beers, H.M. Snyder, John P. Grantham, E.D. Morgan, George Hoover, S. Smith, John Eshelman, William Roberts, Daniel Stanton, John Shane, Oliver Miller, A.J. Wilson, Wm. Mathews, James B. Linch, Thos. Lash, Hiram Burnett, Lewis Fluke, Daniel Whetstone, John Green, James H. Davis, Bershere Bowman, Simeon Waters, Geo. Hobson, Mody Kindle, James A. Jinks, Wallace Fluke, A. Saunders, S. Dickey.

At a meeting of the Mayor and Councilmen-elect of the town of Mt. Pleasant held at the Court House on Monday, April 14th, 1851, being the second Monday in said month, all said officers being present, Mayor William Thompson, Councilmen Titus V. Taft, Harpen Riggs, Alvin Saunders, and John S. Green; Recorder, Henry H. McMillan, officials, took the oath of office.

An Ordinance: Be it ordained by the Mayor and Councilmen of the town of Mt. Pleasant that an election shall be held by the qualified voters on Monday the 28th day of April, 1851, for the purpose of electing a marshall, assessor and treasurer. And be it further ordained that said officers shall hold office for one year.

This ordinance to take effect and be in force after its publication in either of the two papers published in the town. Passed April 14th, 1851.

(The two papers were the Iowa True Democrat and the Mt. Pleasant Observer.)

Mile C. Shaw was elected marshall, John S. Bartruff, treasurer, and Chas. M. Snyder, assessor. At the regular meeting of the council May 5th, 1851, they were sworn in and the council passed an ordinance defining their duties.

Regular meeting June 2nd, 1851. Several ordinances were passed. It shall be the duty of any person or persons who may intend to exhibit or show any animal, wax work or other figures, rope or wire dancing, circus riding, theatrical performance, slight of hand, shall pay a license of $50.00 per month. The office of sexton was created "whose duty shall be to prepare suitable graves for all deceased persons. Shall prepare a grave five feet deep for adults and four feet deep for all persons less than four feet long." Sexton shall furnish temporary headstones, keep a record of burials, keep the graves in good order and for compensation shall receive the following fees: for digging grave, attending funeral, filling up grave, furnishing temporary stone $2.50; for setting up permanent stone $1.00" Oliver Miller was appointed sexton.

-- “Bystander’s Notes“ by Charles S. Rogers, Publisher-Editor of  The Free Press [weekly newspaper published in Mt. Pleasant, IA] Wednesday, March 14, 1945 p. 2

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