Mills County, Iowa  

History Journal


Contributed by Joe DeGisi with permission from Beverly Boileau


by D.H. Solomon




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Wm. Snuffin, acting county judge, E.P. Deupree, next judge.
In 1852, the greater part of the Mormons left.
In 1852, Wm. Phipps raised 18 acres of fall wheat on that year's breaking, and got about 24 bushels to the acre, and raised a second and third crop of fall wheat on the same ground, but they gradually fell short.
In leaving the county and adjoining counties, the Mormons congregated at Bethlehem, on the bank of the river, and then waited for spring to open and for grass. There were, at one time, in the month of April, not far from 2,000 women and children at Bethlehem. The river rose suddenly and surrounded them, huddling them together in a spot of about two acres. It was difficult getting out as they were not prepared for it, and there was great consternation and suffering.
Nearly all the Mormons that intended to go at all left this spring. It was the threat imputed to them that they intended to try and convict the Gentiles for deeds by them done in the body, and then leave, that caused Judge Sloan's court to be so abruptly terminated. Most of the Mormon faith who remained with us during the 25 years of their residence here, have shown themselves to be among the very best citizens we have. They are honest, industrious, generous, kind, peaceable, and law abiding. As an element no harm can be truthfully said of them.
This was an active and important year, for, during this year the county entered upon its career as an independent organization. By an act of the General Assembly, approved January 12, 1853 (J.L. Sharp, a member), the name of our town was changed from that of Coonville to that of Glenwood, and making it the county seat.
The first land entered at the United States land office within the county of Mills, was made an the 16th day of March, 1853, and was the town site of Glenwood, by H.P. Bennett (then county judge) in trust for the occupants.
The original proprietors of Glenwood were: John Sivers, 1/6 interest; 0.N. Tyson, 1/6 interest; J.L. Sharp, 1/3 interest; J.W. Coolidge, 1/3 interest.
John Sivers, who arrived here on the 4th day of July, 1849, bought the cabin first built by Billy Britton, which was found to be within the limits of Glenwood, and by this means became entitled to a part of Glenwood; Coolidge had bought all of Coon's interest, and sold half of the same to J.L. Sharp. Tyson got his 6th by surveying and plotting the whole town.
The statute making Glenwood the county seat, made it so on condition that the proprietors should secure to the county judge, or his successor in office, for the perpetual and exclusive use of the county, one third of all the lots within the limits of the town, together with a public square of not less than two acres, for the purpose of public buildings.

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But Judge Bennett, claiming that Sharp, a member of the legislature at the time, and one of the proprietors had played "sharp," by inserting one third instead of one half in the statute, and having the whole thing in his hands, insisted on and got the half of all the lots for the county, instead of the third.
It is claimed by those proprietors that, should Glenwood ever cease to be the county seat, the county would be required to restore to them their lots or their equivalent in value.
Prior to this year, 1853, no land had been entered, and the only titles the settlers had to their lands were those of claimants or squatters, under the pre-emption laws. But lands were regarded as valuable, and much anxiety was felt to secure their homes and farms by actual entry. The township lines had been run out in 1851, and the section lines in 1852. The land office was opened in the spring of 1853. During that year there were lands entered in the county to the amount of 46,260 acres, and at $1.25 per acre, $57,800.
The largest tract entered by any one man and at one time, was all of section 7-72-41, by Daniel Lewis (Cutler's Camp).
The number of actual settlers who entered land that year was 265, averaging 175 acres to the man.

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Mills County Journal
Glenwood, Iowa
August 5, 1876

Below, and for the gratification of the old settlers and their descendants, I give the names of all those settlers who entered land in the county during that year. This was only the 7th year after the Indian treaty, and the 6th after the Indians were removed, and to those of us who were here in those interesting days of our early history, I can conceive of no more true, full, complete, faithful and accurate picture to be drawn of them. Every name here given will suggest some circumstance or incident that will be interesting to many.

Names of settlers who entered land in 1853:

Township 71 Range 40 - Henry K. Shoup

Township 72, Range 40 - Hiram Hoyt, Heman Able, Heman J. Chipman, Jonathan Watson, Pleasant Silkett, Nelson Hanson, Clark Stillman, Gardner Powers, Edwin A. Morse, Thomas F. Tague, Abel Carey.

Township 73, Range 40 - James McGee, John Richards, Newton D. Richards, Robert Russell.

Township 71, Range 41 - Henry Hamaker, Wheatley Mickelwait, Jesse Dunnagan, Enoch Witt, Jonathan D. Rogers, Nicholas Dunnagan, Daniel Dunnagan, Benjamin Coy.

Township 72, Range 41 - Jacob Lookabill, William G. Wiatt, Eliphalet Lewis, Thomas Crabtree, James McMillen, William H. Brooks, Cary Burdick, George Slonaker, Lonzia Toner, Leroy Britt, John Carroll, James S. Chappell, Daniel Lewis, John Creamer, John Chambers, Norman W. Hodges, Henry Shuler, Bramick Cooper, Allen G. Reed.

Township 73, Range 41 - Isaac Moore, David Emerick, Noah S. Cotton, James McCoy, Joseph Huff, William D. Burge.

Township 71, Range 42 - James L. Smithe, William A. McPherson, Posey Allison, John Troth, Solomon T. Kesterson, Hiram Rogers, Amos Williams, John Rhodes, Egbert Avery, John Hallam, Origen Cumming, James K. Gaston, Isaac Townsend, Lucius A. Matthews, Joshua Boyd, Spencer Boyd, Thompson M. Blair, Richard C. Estes, James McCord, Henry Rist, Sherman R. Pease, James Shambaugh, Luke Wiles, Stephen Wiles, Amanuel Graves, Thomas Wiles, John Gentry, Jacob Burkett, Henderson Linville, David Hayes, Humphrey P. Allison, James L. Burger, Byron Linville, Wm. McPherson, Alfred B. McPherson, Lawrence Rains, George F. Terryberry, John L. Ballard, Joseph Wolfe, William Wolfe, George M. Norvell, Hiram Elmer, David Todd.

Township 72, Range 42 - Spencer Stone, Alexander McClairin, Parcus Harbert, Thomas Miller, William Davis, Hiram P. Bennett, Edwin P. Deupree, Joseph F. Bennett, John Sivers, John Krutzinger, Joseph Rawles, Edward Arnold, Jr., John Miller, William Corfield, George N. Clark, Edmund D. Bedell, Charles W. Tolles, Claiburn Pitzer, Jesse Miller, Wilson T. Bomar, John B. Glover, Robert James, Jacob Anthony, John Dailey, Nancy Judah, Amos Williams, Lodrich H. Stringfield, James Mickelwait, George Mickelwait,

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Solomon Cox, Andrew Mahaffey, Mary P_ice, Christopher Stringfield, Adam Doyle, _______, Hiram Rogers, William Phipps, Abram Ackerman, James Lewis, Jackson Banister, Samuel F. Watts, William P. Davis, Lloyd Fallon, Benjamin Jinkins, Vinson T. Smith.

Township 73, Range 42 - Squire Eggleston, William C. Mathews, Samuel Meadows, Isaac Meadows, Amos Coy, Martin Hayden, Parcus Harbert.

Township 71, Range 43 - Adam Campbell, Jesse H. Buckingham, Burrell Eccleston, Lucas H. Dawson, Thomas Avery, James H. Hendrickson, Daniel B. Harrington, David Goodwin, John Sloane, Julia Ann Harrington, Perry Tarpenning, Hiram Britte, Benjamin F. Merritt, George R. McKnight, Richard Harnie, Joseph Shaw, Moses Campbell, Jonathan B. Kerns, James M. Roberts, George Troth, Greenbury T. Jones, Daniel Harrington, James O'Neil, John Wolfe, Thomas McKnight, James McKnight, Chas. McKnight, Tolbert Hayes, Joseph Shephardson, John Hainie, George S. Folden, Jackson Burdick, William E. Dean, Allen Watson, David McConaughby, Rufus Pack, Riley V. Shaw, Michael Kearnes, Daniel Road, Ezekiel Lambert, Benjamin A. McCord, Samuel Harrison, James Wolfe, Thomas E. Burnes.

Township 72, Range 43 - Oliver M. Oaks, William Houson, William H. Craig, Robert Jones, Lafayette M. Glournep, Aaron Dolph, William J. Wilson, Edward Arnold, Milton J. Martin, Charles McIntosh, Daniel C. Oakes, William Davis, James L. Shields, William Bennett, William Snuffin, Lewis Telghman Moore, Samuel A. Frederick, Joseph L. Sharp, William Britton, Thomas G. Palmer, Isaac E. McBroom, Oliver N. Tyson, Milton Cheney, Joseph W. Coolidge, Wilson Gilliland, William F. Gentry, William Slaughter, George Hepner, David W. Blackmar, Parker A. Hooper, William J. Young, Andrew Campbell, Benjamin Hughes, John S. Griffith.

Township 73, Range 43 - Clark Higley, William Gregory, John H. Plumer, Jonathan Hartley, Evan R. Askwig, Carlos Gove, Nels S. Nelson, Jacob Ira Crockett, John R. Minard, Elijah Dalton, David Holman, Thomas W. Faunce, Stacy R.P. Scott, Daniel H. Solomon, Ebenezer S. Woodrow, Jacob R. Woodrow, Benjamin Gunsolly, Frederick Plumer, Lyman D. Prindle, John M.E. Saar, John Askwig, James Orchard, Pleasant Horner, Samuel Meadows, Phillip Miller, Joseph Brower, Rice Owens, Columbus Nuckolls, Daniel Herryford, Julius Barnes, Franklin McCall, Asa Holmes Anson.

Township 72, Range 44 - Hudson N. Stephens.

Township 73, Range 44 - John Pearce, Jeremiah Bunker, Peter A. Sarpy.

On the 25th of June of this year, an unfortunate affair happened in Glenwood. That morning Rufus Merritt and John Creech started for Glenwood from home, south of town, through the brush with their rifles, hoping to find some game. They were both good shots. Old man Creech and Bennett, his son, started also, with a load of lumber for Coolidge, from the saw mill on Wah-ha-bon-sah creek, drawn by three yoke of cattle. When they reached town Merritt and John Creech and the Johnsons, Lewis, the father, and his two sons, Seth and John, Bill Ellington and others were shooting at a mark on the north side of Keg Creek, and near the bridge in Walnut street. They went on up, unloaded and drove back and across the south side of the creek under the big elms to let the cattle cool. Johnsons came to where they were with a jug of whiskey and their guns, and they and old man Creech and others went to shooting ten steps off hand

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at ten cents a shot, at a mark on a board. The old man Johnson said Bill Ellington could beat any man shooting sixty yards with a rest, for a dollar; John Sivers held the money; they put up a dollar each; they shot at a board that had already been shot at a great many times, and so could not tell where the shots were, and agreed to shoot it over. They did so, and old man Creech beat Ellington. Johnson swore he would not give up the money, because Ellington had beaten Creech the first time, that he would have the money or a fight. Old man Creech then said "you take your money and I will take mine, I would not have a fuss with you for a dollar." Johnson then went and claimed a ball hole on the board that they shot first time. John Creech spoke and said "I shot that ball when we were on the other side of the creek." Seth Johnson then struck him with his fist. Then Bennett Creech struck Seth on the head with his gun, and about that time Lewis Johnson struck old man Creech on the back of the neck with the muzzle of his gun, and then punched him in the face with it, the ramrod running into his eye. Creech died in 48 hours. Johnson was arrested and had a preliminary examination before Esquire Greenbury T. Jones and James McCord, and was held to answer, and started to jail at Des Moines. But a writ of habeas corpus was obtained, and he was overtaken at the East Nishnabotany, and brought to Council Bluffs, and on hearing admitted to bail. He was subsequently tried and acquitted. This was the same Lewis Johnson, who, with his son, John, and another, were all three bound together back to back, and put into the river at Plattsmouth, bound hand and foot, and drowned about four years afterward.

In the year 1853, I reached Glenwood on the 17th day of July, and it has since been my home. Having no money, and no means of support, I took a school and taught in the log school house, beginning in July. Coolidge had a store in the house now occupied by H.A. Tolles. He cut off ten feet of the front end of the south shed room, by tacking up some domestic for a partition. With the head of a barrel for a table, and a glass box for a chair - with Chitty's pleadings, 3 vols., Blackstone's commentary, 2 vols., the old blue book and the code of 1851, I opened an office for the practice of law. I taught five days in each week, making about $1.00 a day, and on the 6th, Saturday, had a law suit. Fees averaging from $25 to $100 each suit. In the fall of that year, Col. Sharp and myself started out on horseback for Quincy, in Adams county to attend court. We staid all night at David Silcott's on Indian Creek, where Bowen now lives. This was the last habitation in Mills county. We left there by sunrise in the morning, taking our dinners, as we did not know of a single settlement between there and Quincy. We traveled all day across hill and valley with no road, not even a trail, jumping ______ streams, stopped for a dinner on the East Botany where Silcott afterward built a mill, and about 4 o'clock in the afternoon spied a house, and on reaching it found an old lady there by the name of Sager, on the banks of the West Nodaway. Here we stayed all night, and next morning went to Quincy, fording all streams.

The judge called court, and there having been no grand jury summoned he asked the people assembled if a grand jury would be necessary; after a moment's silence, a tall, gangling, backwoodsman rose at the back part of the house, and with a bland smile, said:

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"No, judge, I don't think we need a grand jury, I have been here about as long as anybody, and there have been scarcely any crimes committed in the county; none, in fact, but a little hog stealing, and we are all of us guilty of that. I believe it is the unanimous wish of the people that we have no grand jury this term."

At that time he himself did not know which of the four counties of Montgomery, Adams, Page or Taylor, he resided in, as the lines had not yet been run.

Joseph L. Sharp, a resident of Mills county, the other, was admitted as a floating member of the house, to represent Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont, Page, Taylor, Ringgold, Union, Adams, Montgomery, Cass, Adair, Audubon, Shelby, Harrison, Monona, Crawford, Carroll, Sac, Ida, Wahkaw, Plymouth, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Sioux, O'Brien, Clay, Dickinson, Osceola and Buncombe - 30 counties in all nearly one third in territory of the entire state. Sharp had but one eye, is 6 foot 3 in his socks, and now emblishes the city of Memphis, Tennessee.

Senator George W. Lucas, a resident of Fremont county, represented the counties of Mills, Montgomery, Adams, Union, Ringgold, Taylor, Page and Fremont.

The country was full of money and of produce. The vegetables were the largest I have ever seen; beets long enough for fence posts. The price of everything, corn, oats, potatoes, beets, turnips, apples and wheat was a dollar a bushel. Our sole outlet was the steamboats on the Missouri, and we knew nothing in those days but twenty dollar gold pieces and St. Louis. Our money came through the pioneer emigration to and from California and Salt Lake.


Mills county had no representation until the fourth General Assembly, which convened at Iowa City, December 5, 1852.

William G. Means was one member, and represented Mills, Montgomery, Adams, Page, Union, Ringgold, Taylor and Fremont.

The fifth General Assembly convened at Iowa City, December 4, 1854, and in extra session July 2, 1856. Senator, George W. Lucas. House - Richard Tutt, a resident of Mills county, and a son of George Tutt, was elected to represent the counties of Mills, Montgomery, Adams, Union, Adair, Audubon and Cass. He was a young man of fine promise, but was taken sick and died at his home, in Glenwood, before taking his seat.

At the extra session, Joseph W. Russell, also a resident of Glenwood, Mills county, was elected to and filled the vacancy occasioned by the death of young Tutt. Russell was a lawyer of fine talents, and the father of the popular and esteemed merchants of our place, Andrew J., Charles V.B., and L.W. Russell, and Augustus, lately removed to Hastings.

The sixth General Assembly convened at Iowa City, December 1, 1856. Senate - Samuel Dale, of Taylor county, represented Fremont, Mills, Page, Taylor, Montgomery, Ringgold, Adams and Union counties. House - Samuel H. Moer, a resident of Mills county, elected on the Fusion ticket of Fillmore and Fremont - it being the presidential year - represented Mills, Taylor, Page, Montgomery, Ringgold and Adams counties.

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At this, the presidential election of 1856, delegates were chosen to form a new constitution for the State.

The counties of Mills, Montgomery, Adair, Union, Fremont, Page, Taylor, and Ringgold composed one district, for a convention to be composed of 36 members.

The Democrats place in nomination myself, and the Fillmoreites and Fremonters coallesced and put in nomination against me, a very worthy citizen of Fremont county - Colonel Thomas Farmer. I had never run for office, and was anxious that the State should not be deprived of my valuable services; said and did a great many foolish things, but in spite of all this was elected. The result was a matter of surprise to nearly everybody, for my chances were slim, indeed. In the eight counties the majority of the votes cast for Fremont and Fillmore over the vote of Mr. Buchanan was 530. I was running as a Democrat and on the Democratic ticket. Farmer was nominated and run by both the other parties, and had his name on both their tickets. There was then in the district a political majority organized against me of 530. My majority over Col. Farmer was 168. I served in that convention, was its youngest and greenest member, and was appointed by President Springer upon the standing committee on the judicial department, with Wm. Penn Clarke, R.L.B. Clark, James F. Wilson and J.C. Hall.

The convention assembled on Monday, January 19, 1857. This is the only race for office I ever had.

The Seventh General Assembly convened at Des Moines January 11, 1858. Senate - John W. Warner, representing counties as above stated. House - James M. Dews, an able lawyer and a resident of Mills county, representing Mills and Montgomery counties. Mr. Dews resides now at Kansas City.

The Eighth General Assembly convened at Des Moines Jan. 8, 1860; in extra session, May 15, 1861. Senate - Harvey W. English, a resident farmer of Fremont county, representing Page, Fremont, Mills and Montgomery counties. House - Washington Darling, a resident of Mills county and a farmer, represented Mills and Montgomery counties. Mr. Darling, though from feeble health a mere shadow of his former self, is still with us, and is much esteemed by all who know him.

The Ninth General Assembly convened at Des Moines January 13, 1862. Senate - Harvey W. English, as above stated. House - A.R. Wright, a farmer, represented Mills county alone. Mr. Wright is still among us, and is highly esteemed by his many friends for his noble qualities of head and heart.

Tenth General Assembly. Senate - Lewis W. Ross, a resident of Pottawattamie, represented the counties of Fremont, Mills, Cass and Pottawattamie. Mr. Ross is a leading member of our bar; a man of rare attainments, and enjoys the confidence of the people, and from my rather intimate acquaintance with him, I cannot refrain from saying that he richly deserves it. House - Wm. Hale, Mills county alone.

The Eleventh General Assembly convened at Des Moines January 8, 1866. Senate - Lewis W. Ross, as above stated. House - Wm. Hale again represented Mills county. He was this session speaker, pro tem, and acquitted himself with distinction.

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The Twelfth General Assembly convened at Des Moines January 8, 1868. Senate - Jefferson P. Casady, of Council Bluffs, represented Pottawattamie, Mills, Cass and Fremont. House - John Y. Stone, of Glenwood.

The Thirteenth General Assembly convened at Des Moines January 10, 1870. Senate - J.P. Casady, as above stated. House - J.Y. Stone of Glenwood.

The Fourteenth General Assembly convened at Des Moines January 8, 1872. Senate - J.Y. Stone, of Glenwood, representing Mills and Pottawattamie counties. House - A.R. Wright, again.

The Fifteenth General Assembly convened at Des Moines January 12, 1874. Senate - J.Y. Stone, of Glenwood, represented as above stated. House - James Mickelwait, a farmer and worthy citizen, repected by all who know him. He thinks still that he treated that Indian about right.

The Sixteenth General Assembly. Senate - George Wright, of Council Bluffs, represents Mills and Pottawattamie. House - J.Y. Stone. of Stone's ability it is useless to speak, his powers of legal discrimination have distinguished him already. And now, having disposed of the great men (?) of the country, myself included, let us go back at once to that grand old year of . . . .


and see what further we shall see. From the description of our trip to Quincy in Adams county, it is seen that there had up to that time been no travel from the east, direct; that there was not even a track or trail. I will not claim that Col. Sharp and myself were the first to travel over the route, now the line of the Burlington and Missouri R.R. But if any pale faces had preceded us they had left no foot prints that we could discover or hear of.

The only lines of travel that then existed were north and south. There was at this time a semi-weekly two horse hack plying between Kanesville or Council Bluffs, and Linden, Mo., there connecting with a line to St. Joe. It was on one of these that I came down from Council Bluffs one bright morning (July 17th). The route was down the bottom, at the foot of the bluffs for about ten miles, or half the distance, then ascending by a winding sharp ridge road to the upland, passed the residences of old man Plumer and Henry Saar, who at that time lived in rail pens, but who are now among our wealthiest farmers. Then coming on to Pony Creek, crossed that at the same place where the road now crosses, and where John Askwig lives. Then up a long hollow to the east of where the road now runs, we passed Phillip Miller's, next Elijah Dalton's, then Dave Holman's, Lewis E. Young's, McBroom's and Aaron Dolph's place - the latter soon after belonging to Clark Higley. After passing this place the driver, George Schoville, told me to keep an eye peeled for Coonville or Glenwood. We were at the time passing what he said was the north line of Glenwood, and at about where Mrs. Coolidge now resides. Here we began a gradual descent at a rapid rate through a grove of young timber and underbrush, the track being just wide enough for the hack to pass, and curving to keep

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the ridge, and we passed as I think, between two new store houses; that on the right, as he said, Col. Sarpy's store, and the other a "young fellow's who had just come on," each built in the brush, on what he said was the public square. But there was nothing that indicated the square, as everything then was covered with brush. The road passed, I think, in front of Sarpy's and back above the breakoff, two rude cabins were in sight - the Coons and Everett houses. The next was a small new frame, lately built and in the track of the road, so that we had -------

(was to have been carried in the next issue of the Mills County Journal, but instead the story is picked up in the July 29, 1876, issue of the Glenwood Opinion.)



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