Excerpts from An Illustrated History of Monroe County, Iowa - 1896
CHAPTER XII ~ MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS.
NOTE: The following was transcribed as it was written in 1896. Some of the language is not considered to be politically correct by today's standards.
On the election of Grant and Colfax, in November, 1868, the Republicans of Monroe County held an enthusiastic jollification in Albia. Wm. Davis, a Negro barber who had been brought up from the South at the close of the war, was called on for a speech. He mounted a platform, and in the course of his remarks recounted his experience and hardships as a slave on a Southern plantation. He spoke of his adventures as a Union soldier, and, later, his experience as a citizen of the Union. His remarks were loudly cheered by the crowd.
Several Negro children were brought and sent to Monroe County in 1864-5. These first arrivals considerably ruffled the feelings of those who entertained pronounced scruples against the mingling of the two races. It is related that one day, while passing the residence of Wm. Welsh, just south of town, R. E. Robinson, a gentleman residing in Monroe Township, saw a couple of Negro children playing in the yard. The spectacle was overwhelming to the honest farmer. It called up in his mind a long train of evil consequences resulting from the emancipation of the black race. The spectacle was premonition of the debasement and ultimate coalescence of the two races. It was a public day of some kind, and there was a long train of farmer's wagons behind. Mr. Robinson arose in his vehicle and addressed the crowd in an animated and eloquent oration. He called upon his friends to note the degradation which the emancipation of the slave had entailed upon a superior race, in the humiliating spectacle before them.
Hugh McQueen was another youth sent up from the South. He bore but a faint trace of African blood, which was seldom detected. He was something of a beau among the young ladies of Monroe Township, and it was not generally known that he was of African descent. Andrew Stamm, an Iowa soldier, in some way got possession of the boy while he was a slave in the South. He found him sitting on a fence and the boy either followed him voluntarily or was coaxed away.
On August 31, 1868, a hickory pole of prodigious height was reared in Albia by the local Democracy, as a symbol of the "Old Hickory" or Jacksonian type of Democracy. It was during the campaign when Seymour and Blair were the Presidential standard-bearers of the Democratic party. It was jointed, and the sections secured by iron bands. A year later one Davis, a Democrat who had invested a dollar in the pole, and who therefore claimed to be a joint stockholder, cut the pole down for fire-wood.
In the Sentinel of 1860, in an article descriptive of early times, J. T. Young tells the following incident:
"Standing in a small grove of timber near the east line of the township, and owned by old Mr. Gillespie, who sold it to its present owner, Thomas Hickenlooper, is a log-cabin. The grove is composed of a thick growth of small saplings and underbrush. A long time ago, it is said, a panther made his home in this dark and secluded spot. His screams were heard at night by friend J. W. McIntyre, who lived about a mile from the grove.
"The animal would occasionally sally forth to some neighboring sheep-pen, ten rails high (and such rails as Mr. Lincoln never split), take one of the fattest sheep, and make off with it as easily as a cat would carry a mouse. Mr. Panther went to Milton McIntyre's sheep-pen one night, picked up a sheep, and made off with it, when he was beset by the dog. This raised Milton's spunk, and he gathered a club and made at the panther, which fled and was never seen again."
The legendary panther, or "painter," as it was usually termed in the vernacular of the pioneer settlers, was an animal the very mention of whose name spread terror in the hearts of children, a few housewives, and not a few timid men.
While it was generally regarded as an animal of great ferocity, there is no record of its ever having attacked any one. Nobody ever saw a dead panther, and the phantom form of the live animal was never calmly viewed by mortal gaze, save only by an occasional furtive glance while the "painter" crossed some dark, secluded path in the forest. In fact about the only tangible proof of the existence of the "painter" was the very abundant auricular evidence of hearing the animal's blood-curdling screams by night. The scream is said to be not very unlike that of a terrified woman.
These screams, which terrified whole neighborhoods, can be heard almost any night in the forests. They are uttered by a very small owl, between the size of a screech-owl and that of a large horned owl. It is about the size of a pigeon, and has no "horns" on its head. The real panther does not scream, but utters a sharp, prolonged screech. It is about the size of a dog, and very shy and cowardly.
It is quite probable that there were a few of these animals passing through the forests at times, but it was the common wild cat that so often became confounded with the panther.
The wild cat is about the size of a small dog, and is of a gray color, marked with small specks. It has a large head, small ears, and a short tail. It is very destructive to young pigs, lambs, and poultry. It was abundant in the forests of Monroe County, but soon disappeared on the advent of settlers.
If the animal were a large specimen, and the beholder's imagination vivid, he raised the report that he had seen a "painter." The "painter," however, was a sort of Satyr of some utility to the settlers. If a settler knew of a fine patch of wild blackberries which he wished to save for his own use, he circulated a story that the "painter" had been seen or heard in the vicinity, and the berries would be unmolested.
The Canada lynx was another animal allied to the wild cat which occasionally passed through a neighborhood. It was a little larger that the wild cat, and had long, pointed ears and a short tail. Its fur was marked with larger spots. It was probably the real prototype of the "painter."
Wild game in those days was quite plentiful in Monroe County. Deer were quite common in the '60s, and up to about 1870 one or more might be seen passing through the county. they were the common Virginia deer of the West and South.
The bear and bison had been extinguished long before by the Indians, and the writer has no knowledge of any bears having been found by white settlers, save one, which was killed on one of the Avery creeks long ago, by Butler Delashmut and others, of Eddyville.
Wild turkeys were once abundant in the forests, but of late years have become all but extinct. Occasionally one is still seen in the woods, but probably within a half-dozen years there will not be one in the county. Twenty years ago the fields and prairies swarmed with prairie-chickens. They usually hatched in Minnesota and farther north, and came southward in September and remained until June. They congregated in immense flocks, and hunting them was a great delight to the sportsman. Occasionally a small flock is still seen in the winter season.
Wild geese, ducks, and other water-fowl are also transient guests, and alight occasionally in ponds, while passing.
Squirrels are still plentiful in some localities within the county, but they, too, are destined to go, forever, with the ultimate destruction of the forests. There are two varieties, the gray and the fox squirrel. The latter is a little the larger.
There are a few raccoons, and the skunk is still plentiful and keeps on amicable terms with man. The badger has become extinct, and the prairie-wolf has about become so. The timber-wolf was a larger species, but was never numerous.
The circular wolf-hunt of thirty years ago was one of the grandest fete days in the county. The settlers would set out on some appointed day, and converge to some previously arranged center, designated by a pole. They would blow their horns, ring bells, and discharge fire-arms as they traveled along, and a certain hour all would surround the pole in a solid phalanx. Here no guns were allowed, and any wild animals caught within the circle were dispatched by dogs. The usual catch of these hunts was a few skunks and occasionally a fox.
There are two varieties of fox, the gray and the red fox. They are few in number.
Rabbits are still plentiful, and as they are capable of rapid increase, they will remain a long time. The ground-hog, or woodchuck, inhabits the woods and is quite plentiful.
The prairie gray squirrel belongs to the marmot or woodchuck family, and dwells on the prairie. A smaller species, known as striped squirrels, or chipmunks, infest the woods, and in the meadows are found still another variety, also striped. These two species are about the size of a small rat.
The pocket gopher is disappearing rapidly. The otter has long since disappeared, but the mink and musk-rat are still denizens of the county.
The rattlesnake is the only poisonous snake in the county.
There are still a few pheasants, and an abundance of quails. The wild pigeon, once so numerous, is now extinct.
In February, 1880, the coal-miners working in the Albia Coal Company mines, at Cedar Creek just west of Albia, who were out on strike, were replaced by Negroes.
Henry Miller, president of the company, conceived the idea of trying to operate the mines by Negroes. He went to Missouri and secured a force of raw Negroes, and put them to work in the mines. They learned the trade rapidly, and made a good livelihood for themselves and their families, and were less inclined to place the interests of their employers in jeopardy by strikes.
The striking white miners, however, on finding their places taken by the blacks, assumed a threatening attitude towards the latter, and doubtless blood would have been shed if the company of militia stationed at Albia had not appeared upon the scene to repress any outbreak. On Saturday night, of February 21st, the Negroes were fired upon by the strikers. The Negroes returned the fire, but no one was hurt. These were the first colored miners that came into the Monroe County mines.
"The Deep Snow."
"The deep snow" represents a period in the chronology of pioneer times, from which all old settlers reckon dates—as, for instance, three years before "the deep snow" the contest over the county seat occurred; or, the first school-house in the county was built five years before "the deep snow," or in 1844. Likewise the first marriage occurred in this year, being that of Nelson Wescoatt and May Searcy. Three months later the bride died of fever. Or, if the settler wishes to recall the period when horse-stealing was prevalent in the county, he will say that it was the winter after "the deep snow," or in 1850. The event itself occupies the same relationship to local pioneer chronology that Noah's flood does to Christian chronology, or the flood of Deucalion to the chronology of Greek mythology.
The snow began to fall about the first of December, 1848, and continued until April 6, 1849. The snow was three feet deep on the level, and it was very severe on both domestic as well as wild animals. Large numbers of deer were caught when a crust had formed on the surface of the snow, which impeded the speed of the animals, but enabled the dogs to pursue them on the surface without breaking through.
In passing through the forest of the present day, one will occasionally meet with a decaying monument of this memorable snow, in the form of stumps of trees cut during the winter of the snow, when the axman walked on the surface, borne up by the crust. These stumps usually stand about six feet in height, and have often attracted curiosity in those who do not recall the incident of "the deep snow."
The first settlers of the county were mostly of American birth; but not long afterwards a colony of Germans settled on Coal Creek, in a locality sometimes alluded to as "Dutch Ridge." This locality was originally one of the most barren and unpromising regions in the county. It was composed of white oak soil, covered with underbrush and dense growths of saplings. Just why the prudent, thrifty German should have selected this region was always a mystery to the native settler. The German always had plenty of money, and he could have had his pick of the land. What was still more surprising, he thrived and prospered on this wild "Dutch Ridge." He laid up money and improved his farm, while the native settler, located in the garden-spots of the county, scarcely made a living.
There were the Hertzers, the Mertzes, the Wiemans, the Landsbergers, the Steinbergers, the Manleys, and others. They were a hardy, industrious, and law-abiding community, and have transmitted to posterity an equally creditable class of citizens in the present generation.
For many years, Philip Hertzer, or "old Dutch Philip," as his many friends have affectionately styled him, was, by a sort of universal reverence, acknowledged to be the chief counselor of the colony, or a sort of "burgomaster."
These Germans never took any special interest in local politics, and during every political canvass in the county the "Dutch Ridge" became a much-coveted vineyard to the stump-speaker. They were fond of their beer, and when the State prohibitory law was enacted, the inhabitants of "Dutch Ridge" became disgusted with the Republican party, and withdrew their allegiance to it.
Whenever a party leader desired to augment the strength of his party in the county, he considered it highly necessary to establish diplomatic relations with "Dutch Philip." Then, on election day, the Germans would be out in force. "Dutch Philip" would be their counselor, and Judge Hilton and Tom Baldwin, each representing his respective party, might be seen wreathed in seductive smiles, bestowing their blandishments upon the apparently enraptured German voters, and incidentally setting forth the merits of their respective parties. The good-natured and sagacious German usually listened with an expression of well-affected interest and profound deference, but before either party champion could get his man started towards the ballot-box with the proper ballot snugly folded within his vest-pocket, the latter could invariably be seen meandering behind the school-house in company with "Dutch Philip."
The Irishman is always the first on the ground every where. There is no place under the sun where you will not find him. He forges to the front, not only in a geographical sense, but in a social and political one as well. If a public policy is to be consummated, and Irishman pushes it through; if a sortie or charge is to be made, or a forlorn hope led into the death-valley of an enemy's guns, an Irishman is at the head. He has done everything for the advancement of other nations, and nothing for his own little down-trodden isle. He is an Irishman for Ireland as long as he lives on the isle, but as soon as he steps ashore at Castle Garden he becomes and American citizen at heart, and really does not require the naturalization act of courts, which he avails himself of as soon as the prescribed term of residence is up. On landing, he immediately discards his nice, neat moleskin knee-breeches and high hat, and dons a pair of blue overalls, takes up a shovel, a peddler's pack, or a policeman's "billy," and goes to work. He attends all political meetings, and votes the Democratic ticket as soon as he gets his naturalization papers—and sometimes before. When he becomes a citizen, he does not waste his energies in sentimental and equally futile attempts to redeem his own unhappy native isle from its thralldom. Deep in his heart he feels her unhappy condition, but he feels that his labors and statesmanship in the new world are of too high a value to be interrupted by a sentiment that cannot be realized, or a dream that can never be fulfilled.
The west half of Monroe County is largely settled by Irishmen. Their farms are all well-cultivated, and yield their owners a comfortable living. Like the Germans, they selected a wild, broken region for their homes; but this more readily accounted for by the fact that they came to Monroe County with small means and were obliged to select cheaper lands. Most of the Irish vote the Democratic ticket.
Notwithstanding the rural disadvantages which many of the neighborhoods of this Irish colony possess, most of the brightest young professional men of Monroe County are either Irishmen or the sons of Irishmen. The O'Bryans, the Carrs, the Richmonds, The Nichols, Ed. Morrison, Jas. M. Robb, and A. J. Cassady, and others, are of the legal profession; and Ed. A. Canning, while a prominent citizen and highly valued public official, may yet turn his attention to jurisprudence and become a successful lawyer with the rest.
The extensive development of the mining industry within the county has of late years invited other nationalities into our midst. A large majority of the miners—say three-fourths—are Welsh and English. The remaining fourth is made up of Americans, Swedes, and a few Italians, French, Scotch, and Belgians. There are no Irish miners, and but a few Germans. The Dutchman will not venture into the dark, and the Irishman always wants to be on top. The English and Welsh miners are the most successful miners, as for centuries the calling has been hereditary with them. There is but slight national distinction between them. The English are from Durham and Cornwall.
Methods of Farming.
When the early settlers began to till the virgin soil of Monroe County, each farmer adopted the methods of his own particular State. The "Pennsylvania Dutchman," accustomed to the rocky, loose soil of Pennsylvania, brought with him his monster cast-iron plow. It would not "scour" in our Western soil, so he discarded it with many a sigh.
The New England Yankee's methods were quite unique, and greatly amused the "Hoosier," the "Sucker," and the Kentuckian. The prairie soil was decidedly different from that of the Eastern States, and it required several year's experience for the husbandman to get started on the right track.
In the earlier period flax was a staple crop. It was cultivated exclusively for the fiber. About the time the plant was in bloom, the farmer's wives and daughters would go into the fields and pull up the flax by the roots. It was then soaked in water for awhile, to bleach. Then it was hauled in and placed in larger bunches, where it was allowed to "rot"—i. e., the woody part beneath the bark or fiber was allowed to decay. The the farmer would "break" it. A "flax-break" was a rudely constructed appliance for breaking the woody portion of the flax. It consisted of an oak frame five or six feet in length and about two feet wide, and supported on four legs. Within this frame, and placed parallel and extending the long way of the frame, were a series of wooden bars, an inch or two apart, with sharpened edges. Then upon the upper side of this frame, were a series of wooden bars, and inch or two apart, with sharpened edges. Then upon the right side of this frame, and hinged to it, was another frame constructed the same as the lower one, the edges of its bars mashing into the space between the lower bars when the upper frame was shut down against the latter. The farmer would then raise the upper frame with one hand, place a bunch of flax crosswise on the lower frame of the "break," and then thrust the upper frame or hinged lid down upon the flax. This movement was repeated until the stalk of the flax was crushed and broken into small particles, the fiber or bark remaining uninjured by the operation.
In this state it was passed to the housewife, who ran it through the "hackle" to remove the bits of woody material. The "hackle" was a board about ten inches wide and about fifteen inches long. Sharp-pointed nails were driven through this board about half an inch from each other over the entire surface. The wife would draw the flax through this "hackle" handful by handful, when it was finally ready to be spun in thread or "filling." It was then ready for the loom. Every dutiful housewife could operate a loom in those days, and a young lady who was not accomplished in spinning and weaving was shunned by the matrimonially inclined young men, and usually lived an old maid.
Weaving was always a medium of exchange, and it was no uncommon thing for the young wife, in embarking on life's voyage, to do weaving for a yoke of oxen for her young husband. The writer's mother did weaving for a quantity of corn, at ten cents per bushel. She wove at the rate of about fifteen cents a yard. We are not quite certain but that she wove the cloth for her prospective husband's flax wedding-breeches, for the fabric showed that especial care had been expended on it. The cloth thus made was very coarse, and of a greenish gray color. The greatest objection to it was that it never wore out. If we mistake not, our first pants were constructed out of a discarded pair of parental trousers, doubtless those which did such excellent service on the marriage occasion already spoken of.
After the lapse of a few years, the settlers began to raise sheep, and to convert the wool into cloth. If the cloth was constructed solely of wool, it was called "jeans"; but if the "chain" was composed of cotton of flax, it was called "linsey." The ladies preferred linsey for their wearing apparel, as it was of a little finer texture, say 700 threads of warp to the yard.
In 1860 John Young (father of Josiah T. Young) and sons started a woolen factory at Albia. A short time later they put in "carding" machinery, which was a great convenience to the settlers. The factory burned in 1862, but in 1866 it was rebuilt and operated by Wallace & Rambo for several years.
Some of the prominent families of early days affected certain colors in homespun flannel. These family colors were a sort of "coat of arms" in the family. For instance, the flannel and jeans worn by the family of Elias Fisher in Urbana Township was a dark walnut brown interspersed with streaks of yellow, something like a tiger's skin. The house of Noland was represented by a butternut brown. All old-timers will remember the long-tailed butternut coat of Doster Noland, garnished with large white bone buttons. When this eminent veterinary surgeon moved to Missouri, he wore the big coat, and is doubtless wearing it yet, if alive. The Hayese, Baldwins, and Whites, all being related, had one common family color. It was a kind of checked arrangement, broad bands of red and narrow streaks of the same color, with a blue background. "Rich" Hayes still clings to this color. He is still alive, and some years ago sold his farm in Monroe Township, and moved to Missouri and got religion. The family color of the Haller family was a sky-blue jeans color marked with still lighter colored bars or streaks. Mose Haller, the patriarch of the family, still lives at Selection, in Monroe Township. He has lost his eyesight, but can hear distinctly, and recognizes everybody by their voices. He keeps well posted on all that transpires in the neighborhood.
Probably the very first implement for tilling the soil was the heavy hoe. Many of the early settlers, as we have before stated, emigrated from Indiana, and Indiana was largely settled by Kentuckians; hence many of the early settlers of Monroe County were of Kentucky stock. The were proficient in the use of the hoe, and had to be, perforce of necessity, as they were dependent upon it for their "Johnny-cake." The Southern pioneer could not "go wheat bread," and if placed on a diet of wheat bread, he got all out of sorts, and lost faith in the country, and had no desire to work.
The early farmers did not produce anything for market except hogs, and these had to be driven to Keokuk or Alexandria to market. The pioneer hog was vastly superior to the modern porker in intellect and correspondingly inferior in all other points. He was called the "hazel-splitter," and was a long-legged, big-headed, sharp-backed animal, that could run like a race-horse and hold his own among wolves and wild cats. He was usually of a "sandy" color, and spent his time in the woods from May to December, and not unfrequently shifting for himself all winter. He subsisted mainly on roots and nuts, and late in the fall he fattened on burr-oak acorns. All the farmer had to do, when his hogs grew fat enough for market, was to capture them, and this was sometimes as thrilling an experience as a wolf-hunt in Siberia.
One fall the writer's grandfather sold an old sow to Captain Wilson, who drove her, with several hundred others, to Burlington, a distance of one hundred miles. The next spring or summer the identical sow came home to see her pigs from which she had been heartlessly separated the fall before. She walked all the distance, and was lean and haggard when she arrived. She made her escape from Burlington. She was again delivered to Mr. Wilson, the drover.
Every farmer had his "ear-marks" registered in the County Judge's office, and by means of ear-marks every person was enabled to identify his own hogs from those of his neighbors. The "ear-marks" of no two person could be alike, and he whose ear-marks had been registered took precedence over others in a dispute.
The forests contained herds of wild hogs which had strayed from their owners or succeeded in evading capture. These were hunted with dogs, and were exterminated in a few years.
Among the first plows used for breaking wild sod were the "bar-share" plow and the Carey plow. The latter seemed to be the favorite. The "bar-share" plow consisted of an iron plate lying flat on the ground with a wooden mold-board slanting slightly from its middle. In the Carey plow the rear end of this iron plate turned up behind and formed a part of the mold-board.
Then came the long-beamed break-plow, already described in a previous chapter, and which every person who has passed the residence of John Massey, south of Albia, during the last twenty-five years, has noticed leaning against the front-yard fence. Some months ago the writer, in passing, had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Massey's son, Ressie, plowing with this relic of a past generation. He was scouring it along the right-of-way of the railroad by way of preparing it for farming purposes.
After the ground had first been broken with the big prairie plow, the ground in later years was turned over by the "diamond" plow or "stirring" plow; and when the corn was planted and ready for cultivation, a small one-horse "diamond" plow was at first used; then came the "single-shovel," and next the "double-shovel," and along about 1870 the modern "cultivator" was introduced. This plow required two horses, and actually plowed a row of corn in one trip, instead of going up one side of the row and returning on the other side, as was done with the "double-shovel." The farmer doubted the utility of the "cultivator," it professed to do too much—plowed a row of corn in just half the time required by the "double-shovel"; and when some fellow devised one on which the plowman could ride, the inventor was regarded as a wild dreamer or lunatic.
Reaping implements went through the same gradual transition. First came the small semicircular "reap-hook." This was the implement of the mountains and hills of the South and of the East, where there were but small patches of grass or grain, growing among rocks an din narrow valleys.
As the Western farmer's field of grass became larger, a speedier instrument was evolved, in the form of a scythe, and for grain the "cradle" was invented. These, too, were at length superseded by the two-horse mower for grass, and the old-fashioned Manna and McCormick hand-rake reapers for grain; these were considered miracles of inventive genius. Finally the "self-rake" reaper and mower combined was brought out, and it was thought that perfection was attained. A machine cost $175 or $200.
In about the year 1870 the Marsh harvestor was invented. It was a ponderous machine, requiring four horses and three men to run it. It had a platform, on which two men rode and bound the grain as it was delivered from a canvas carrier, something similar to those now used on self-binders. The machine proved a failure. It was too heavy, and if the ground was soft, it would not work at all. It was the antecedent of the self-binder of the present day.
To see the modern self-binder as it lightly sails around through the grain fields, doing its work to perfection in grain in all conditions, one naturally wonders if it, too, will in time be supplanted by a machine of higher perfection. It does not seem susceptible of further improvement. It is light-running, and is constructed of steel, to insure strength and a reduction of weight.
The development of the live-stock industry, and the consequent increase in the acreage of tame grass, has led to the adoption of superior machinery for the handling of hay. Most of the hay in the county is stacked and handled by means of stackers and loaders.
There is an alternating law in agriculture by which prices of farm products rise and fall periodically, and the careful study of which enables the shrewd farmer to make money, even in times of financial depression. It cannot be better demonstrated than by a citation to the live-stock industry. About the year 1892 the bottom suddenly dropped out of the cattle market. For some years a surplus cattle had been gradually accumulating. The famine of that time precipitated a crisis in prices, and the country was gorged with an overplus of unmarketable cattle.
Prices ranged so low that everybody grew discouraged and hastened to get rid of their stock at ruinously low prices. People quit raising cattle, and very few had the foresight to realize that at that particular time the farmer should be using his utmost efforts to replenish his herds in anticipation of a shortage. The shortage at length came, and prices were up, and are up at the present date. Just at the time when the cattle market had gone to pieces, horses commanded a fair price. The cowman then turned his attention to raising horses, with the result that at present the horse market is as greatly depressed as the cattle market was some years ago. The farmers have quit raising horses, and in a few years there will be a brisk demand for good horses at fair prices. Thus the markets are subject to a rise and fall as certain in their recurrence as the ebb and flow of tides.
The farmers of Monroe County are in a reasonable degree prosperous. None are so poor but that they know where the next meal is to come from. None are so hard pressed that they have not the means to clothe themselves and their families and have a change of apparel for Sunday wear. Many are growing wealthy, and the vast majority of them live in comfort and enjoy the envious reputation of being honest, intelligent, and respected above all other vocations in life.
The farmer of the country constitutes the keystone in the arch of local prosperity. The dweller of the town feels an unfeigned admiration for him and his family, and although his exterior polish may not be so dazzling, or his wife's and daughter's dress so stylish as that of the city lady, his and their general esteem weighs as much as the attainments of the other in the social scale.
The farmer-boy has outgrown those rural distinctions which once built a brush-fence between himself and the social world. Better roads, the bicycle, the "covered buggy" and fast team, increased population, railroads, rural churches, the increase of country villages, and the later improvements in the common school system have all combined to bring him out into the open "clearing." When once out, and he gets his bearings, he forges to the front. It is a curious fact that most of our county officers were from the country. The same is true of the Monroe County bar. The country offers better encouragement to the growth and development of the mind. No checks are placed on its growth through idleness, social abstractions, or through the still more pernicious effect of evil associations and intemperance.
Source: Hickenlooper, Frank. An Illustrated History of Monroe County, Iowa: A Complete Civil, Political, and Military History of the County, From Its Earliest Period of Organization Down to 1896. Chapt. 12. p. 183-208. Albia, Iowa. 1896.
Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2010