USGenWeb ProjectLinn County Banner IAGenWeb Project

Linn County History

Old Settlers Association of Linn County Organized in 1891

old settlers
First Gathering of Linn County Old Settlers
Click to enlarge photo
This photo shows what was probably the first reunion of the early settlers of Linn county held at Mt. Vernon. Included in the picture are many of the pioneers whose names stand out bravely in the history of a century of growth in Linn county. This reunion was long before the Linn County Old Settlers association was formed. The picture was the property of Mrs. Mary English whose father, Richard Thomas, was one of those included in the picture. It won first prize in the Old Pictures Contest conducted by The Sentinel this spring. (Source: The Marion Sentinel, Linn County Centennial Edition, Marion, IA,  8/26/1937)

The Old Settlers Association of Linn County Organized at the County Seat Yesterday
The Constitution in Full and a Complete List of the Members With Dates of Their Settlement.

Marion, Aug 14 - For some time notice of a call for a meeting of all the old settlers in Linn county, signed by Hon. J. C. Davis, has appeared in the Marion register, to meet at the court house  yesterday for the purpose of there taking action for the perfection of an organization to be known as the Old Settler's Organization of Linn county and in accordance with said call, early in the forenoon our streets were noticed to be rapidly filling with old gentlemen who were very cordial in their meetings with old acquaintances, and the grasp and shake of the hand, and the jolly, kind laughs indicative of a strong feeling of centered purpose. During the whole of the forenoon new members were constantly being added and on all corners, when the drizzling rain would allow, little groups of six and eight would gather and soon animated conversations would take place and as ye scribe would approach, the one conversation would be the meeting to be held in the court house.

The court house bell sounded at one o'clock calling them from refreshments to labor. The interest and desire had become deep. In five minutes after the bell was sounded the district court room was rapidly filled with as fine a looking lot of old gentlemen as ever assembled in that room. J. C. Davis then stepped to the front and called the meeting to order and at the same time explained the object of the meeting. Charles Weare of Cedar Rapids was chosen as temporary chairman who upon taking his seat thanked the meeting for the honor and spoke kind encouragement to the thorough perfection of the organization, saying it was no small honor to be called an old settler of Linn county, the best county in the best state in the world and the best people in the world. J. C. Davis was then selected as secretary.

A. J. McKean made a motion that a committee of three be appointed by the chair on permanent organization. The chairman then named A. J. McKean, J. S. Butler of Brown and Wm Ure of Fairfax. S. W. Rathbun offered a motion that the chair select a committee of three on constitution at the same time suggesting as such committee the names of Robert Smythe, Robert Ellis and Wm G Thompson. The two committees at once commenced their work. In the meantime some questions being asked as to what condition constituted an old settler, J. C. Davis explained that properly the constitution should an in all probability would define these questions, when Mr. Uhr, chairman of the committee on permanent organization reported Charles Weare, president; J. C. Davis, secretary; A. J. McKean, treasurer.

Wm G. Thompson, chairman of the committee on constitution, then reported and stepped forward and read the constitution after which on motion of Mr. Harmon the constitution would be acted upon, article by article. When article third came up a long and spirited debate followed as to what would be inserted to make a person an old settler that they might become a member. Mr. Thompson, as a suggestion, mentioned the residence in Linn county thirty-five years whereupon several motions were offered some for thirty years residence in the county and thirty-five years in the state and some for thirty-five years residence in the state, but after considerable debate back and forth in which Prof. Parvin, William Stewart, D. T. McAfee and others took a lively but pleasant part it was decided to make it a residence in Linn county of thirty five years and all other sections of the proposed constitution being read and adopted the whole was accepted and now is the constitution of the Old Setters of Linn county, which reads as follows:
Article 1 - This association shall be called and known as the Linn County Old Settlers Association.
Article 2 - The officers of this association shall consist of one president, one vice president, one treasurer and one secretary and an executive committee consisting of one member from each township in the county.
Article 3 - Membership. To entitle one to join tis association he or she shall have been a resident of Linn county, Iowa, prior to such joining for the period of 35 years, and pay to the secretary fifty cents as a membership fee; on payment of which the secretary shall issue to such person a certificate or badge of membership, as adopted by the association, and such member shall subscribe his name to the roll of the secretary, and such member shall be entitled to a vote on all questions before said association. Should the secretary have any doubts as to the length or period of residence of any applicant, he may refer that question to the chairman of the executive committee for action, and be governed by his decision.
Article 4 - All officers and committees, as named in article 2 herein, shall be elected by the association at its meeting of August 13, 1891, and hold their respective offices until the close or expiration of the general annual meeting in 1891, and all officers elected at such annual meeting shall hold their offices for one year expiring with the close of the annual meeting of each year, and the president and vice president shall only be eligible to said offices for one year at any one time only and not continuously.
Article 5 - Duties of officers - President: It shall be the duty of the president to preside at all meetings and in his absence or inability to act the vice president shall preside, and in case of the absence or inability of both the association shall name some person as temporary president.
The secretary shall keep a correct record of all of the proceeding of said association, to give notice of all meetings of the association, to keep a membership book or record in which all members shall subscribe their names on joining the association, to notify all members through mail of the death, time and place of funeral as soon as such fact is communicated to him, and to draw all orders for money on the treasurer and turn over all books, records and property of the association in his charge to his successor on or before the days after his successor's election.
The treasurer shall keep a correct record of all funds in his charge and paid out, and pay all orders signed or drawn on him by the secretary countersigned by the president, and to make an annual report to the executive committee at least ten days prior to the annual meeting of the association and make such additional reports as the executive committee may require, and to give bonds if demanded by the executive committee in such amounts as fixed by said committee.
The executive committee shall consist of one member from each township as in article 2 named, and any eight members thereof shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. They shall select some one of their number as chairman annually and any dispute or irregularity of any officer or member shall be determined by them subject to an appeal to the annual meeting, which shall be by a verbal notice to the chairman and any two of the committee within 30 days from the date of the action from which an appeal is sought from. They shall fix the time and place of holding the annual meeting of the association and said committee shall have the power to expel any officer or member for cause to be determined by them subject to an appeal as herein directed and hold at least one meeting annually.
The treasurer, secretary and chairman of the executive committee shall constitute the finance committee. Any two shall have the power to act and any dispute or disagreement shall be referred to the executive committee for action.
After the unanimous adoption of the above as the constitution William Ubr made a motion that each township name their member for the executive committee, whereupon the following gentlemen were named:
J J Daniels, of Bertram; J S Butler, of Brown; Edward Crome of Buffalo; James Kilsey of Clinton; Wm Uhr of Fairfax; Thos Lewis of Fayette; Robt Smythe of Franklin; Robert M Moles of Jackson; H C Platner of Linn; Preston Daniels of Marion; F Kershner of Putnam; Robert Ellis of Rapids; A. Snyder of Washington; A. Lyons of Otter Creek; J M Robbins of Monroe; Cord Gilchrist of Grant; J M Worthington of College; D Reece of Spring Grove; O Clark of Maine.

Mr. Ure made a motion that one thousand copies of the constitution be ordered printed for distribution among the members, which was carried and so ordered.

A committee of three was then appointed by the chair to select and to procure appropriate badges, which was done, which consisted of a gold bar and pin, from which dangles a red satin ribbon about four inches long, with gold fringe on the bottom, with the words in gold letters, "Linn County Old Settlers Organization, Iowa, 1891".
It was then by vote determined that the next meeting be held at Marion at 11 o'clock in the forenoon of Oct 15, 1891, upon which occasion the first annual picnic of the old boys will be held, which will without doubt be the largest and most enthusiastic gathering ever held in Linn county.

Several gentlemen who have been in the state over 35 years, but not quite that length of time in Linn county, were made by vote honorary members, among whom we recall Riley Brown of Brown township, and Prof. Parvin.

Although this by no means constitutes all the old settlers there are in Linn county, it is very interesting to see who were here and became charter members as it were. Hereto are given the names, together with the year they each came to Linn county.

Secretary J C Davis will be at Coggon attending the harvest home picnic on August 19, having with him the books and all old settlers can there sign the roll and become members and receive their badges, or by coming or sending name and 50 cents to him at Marion. It is hoped that the membership will rapidly increase and on the grand annual picnic day, the 15th day of October, will again bring to those glorious old men the days of "Auld Lang Syne." So let everybody keep in memory the date and turn out. The executive committee will commence at once all arrangements for the successful first annual picnic meeting of the Linn county old settlers.
Source: The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) 14 Aug 1891, Fri, pg. 1

A Linn County Old Settlers Association Reunion
Click on photo to enlarge
Shown in the picture above is the 1901 meeting of the Linn County Old Settlers association. Taken on October 3, 1901, the picture shows the members of the association grouped on the steps of the court house directly south of the city park in Marion. Seated in the middle is the Mt. Vernon band, which entertained on that occasion, and wearing a derby hat is J.C. Davis, the founder of the association. (Source: The Marion Sentinel, Linn County Centennial Edition, Marion, IA,  8/26/1937)