CHAPTER "IV" CONTINUED
In the meantime quite a crowd of citizens had assembled, but the extreme southern part of the county had scarcely heard of it. Finally Noah Myers started out to get help in the effort to secure the location as far south as possible. Going on a run to J. H. Hollins, he roused him by exclaiming. "What in thunder are you laying around her for, when there is a county seat at stake?" Hollen had not heard that the commissioners had arrived, but it did not take him long to understand the situation, as Myers had been with the commissioners. In a few moments they had decided upon a plan to get it located where Toledo now rests. At that time this was school land, and was claimed by John Sporh, Solomon Hufford, John Ross and Peter Overmire. The commissioners had decided not to consider bids of less than 80 acres, and Hollen and Myers immediately started for the houses of these settlers to get them to offer 20 acres each, thus making 80, which they at once agreed to do, so it only remained to arrange with the commissioners. Hollen and Myers came upon the commissioners at the farm of Samuel Walkup, and after a short explanation the whole crowd moved toward the present site of Toledo. While they were passing the house of Solomon Hufford, R. B. Ogden, one of the commissioners, picked up a stake and sharpened it, without saying a word. When they arrived upon the spot now occupied by the Toledo Hotel Block, he halted and exclaimed: " Gentlemen, here is the spot that shall be the future county seat of Tama County!" He then drove in the stake with an ax, which had been brought for the purpose. This closed their labors. The location was described as follows: Southwest quarter of southeast quarter, and west half of southeast quarter of southeast quarter; and south half of the northwest quarter, of the southeast quarter, of section 15, township 83, range 15.
The commissioners had the right to name the future county seat, but for some reason they failed to do so and it took the name of Toledo from the postoffice, which had been established during the summer, with J. H. Hollen, as postmaster. Mr. Hollen got the name from reading the book, "Knight of Toledo, in Spain."
The first marriage in the county was that of Myron Blodgett to Miss Sarah Cronk, August14, 1852. The happy couple were united by John C. Vermilya, county judge. This was Judge Vermilya's first effort in this line and h was not a little embarrassed, it is said. Blodgett, in a joke, called him immediately after he qualified.
The second marriage was that of Frederick L. Knott to Martha Gayor, in Buckingham township, on the 16th of October, 1853, the ceremony being performed by Rev. S. W. Ingham, who still resides in the county, ripe with many years of useful labor.
The first death in the county was Franklin, a son of David F. and Catharine Bruner who died September 19, 1852.
The second death as near as can be ascertained, was that of Miss Maria Blodgett, which occurred early in the spring of 1853.
The next was William T., a son of Mr. And Mrs. J. H. Hollen, who died April 1, 1853. The little one was born February 9, 1853.
William Hitchner and wife had a daughter born to them on December 1st, 1852, and it is claimed upon good authority that that this was the first birth in the county. They lived in Northern Tama.
The first fire and destruction of property in the county, was the burning of the log cabin of Alexander Fowler, in what is now York township, in the fall of 1853.
The first county warrants Nos. 1,2, 3 and 4, amounting to $19.50, were issued October 18, 1853, to David F. Bruner for services as assessor of Howard township.
The first flouring mill was erected by C. Bruner late in the winter of 1854. He did not get to grinding until the spring of 1856.
About the same time the Indiantown mill was erected. As early as July 1852, a Methodist devine -Rev. Hesswood- held religious services at Indiantown, in the cabins of various settlements, but no organization was effected.
The next preaching in Tama county was by the Rev. Stone, a Presbyterian minister from Iowa City, in the winter of 1852-3. Services were held at the house of Christian Bruner, in Howard township.
Religious services were held at the house of Norman L. Osborn in Perry township in the latter part of May, 1853, with Rev. Solomon W. Ingham as preacher. The reverend gentleman organized a class the same time and Ira Taylor was appointed leader. This meeting was held on what is now the site of Traer under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal church and the organization was known as the "Tama Mission."
Their first quarterly services were held November 26, 1853, as the house of Zebedee Rush, near Toledo, and Elder Ingham delivered the sermon. They built their first church in Toledo in 1856.
The first Congregational Church in Tama County was organized at Toledo in December, 1754, (typo in book) with a membership of nine, Rev. George H. Woodward was the first pastor and came in 1856. They erected and dedicated their first church in 1860.
The first regular Baptist Church was organized at Toledo, May 20, 1855 with a membership of sixteen persons, and Rev. George G. Edwards as pastor.
The first Presbyterian Church in Tama County was organized by the settlers of Carlton township on the 20th of August, 1855, called "Rock Creek Church" with ten members and James Laughlin and James Reed as elders.
The first citizen to become naturalized was Gotlieb Waggoner. Who received his final papers from Judge Smyth on the 20th of May, 1856. At the same time John Waltz was naturalized.
The first will probated was the will of James Hatfield, deceased, on the 27th day of November, 1854, in County Court, by John C. Vermilya, County Judge.
The first letters of Administration were issued to Nathaniel E. Horton, October 23rd, 1854. Amos Hatfield was the first guardian appointed by the County Court on November 29th 1854.
The first lodge of "Free and Accepted Masons" was organized at Indiantown. Their dispensation was received August 4, 1867. Their charter was received June 2, 1858, and called "Polar Star Lodge, No. 115." The charter members were W. C. Salsbury, W. M.; Charles Gray, Jr., S. W.; S. Cronk, J. W. It was named by Judge Salsbury.
Prior to the latter part of 1883, the pioneers traveling through this region usually followed trails, paths, kept the setting sun straight ahead and followed any other devise to keep in the right direction. On July 1, 1853, a State Road was laid out by the Legislature, running from Marengo to Fort Dodge through the southern part of Tama county. During the year following (1854) a mail route was established from Merengo to Marietta, in Marshall county along this road. Prior to this, in the summer of 1853 a post office had been established with James H. Hollen as post master. In January, 1854, a post office was established at Kinnesaw, with Anthony Wilkinson as post master, his commission bearing the date of February 27, 1854. These-the State road, mail route and post offices-were the first established in the county. They gave material aid to the settlers, and seemed in a degree to be connecting link between their eastern homes and the Far West.
In August, 1853, the A. D. Stephen's and Hardin county road was located.
In December of the same year a State road running from A. D. Stephen's place to Indiantown was located running north from the Iowa river, and with the streams temporarily bridged proved a great benefit to the country.
Early in 1854, a road was located from J. H. Hollen's place, near the Iowa river running northwesterly to James Laughlins house in Carlton township.
On the 30th of May, 1854, the Black Hawk and Toledo road was located by way of Toledo and Buckingham to Black Hawk county.
On the 15th of July, the same year, a road from Bruner's mill in Toledo township to Salt Creek, was located and opened.
On July 29, 1855, a road from Vinton to Newton by way of Toledo was located, and others followed rapidly, showing that Tama county pioneers had the determination, energy and enterprise to carry it through, and to have the county open to travel and free communication.
THE FIRST FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION IN TAMA COUNTY
Buckingham township has the honor of passing into history as the first to celebrate the anniversary of American Independence. It took place in 1853, and was entered into with a zeal and patriotism which has never since been surpassed. Probably no celebration since that time in Tama county has been more thoroughly enjoyed, and at that time, all being socially equal, the brotherhood and common interest of human beings was felt and illustrated in a way that made the occasion doubly happy.
The most important workers in the movement to inaugurate the celebration, were, Col. John Connell, J. C. Wood, J. P. Wood and Wesley A. Daniels. A subscription paper was started, which was signed by about twenty persons subscribing in all, the amount of $9.75! The collector of this subscription was Joshua C. wood, and the list is still in his hands. The preamble is in the hand-writing of John Connell, and is in a good state of preservation, but the names signed are fast being obliterated. One name, remembered as that of Alvah L. Dean, cannot be distinguished at all, and those of L. E. Wood and Joseph Connell can barely be read. John Connell and J. C. Wood went to Cedar Rapids and procured the necessary eatables, as that was the nearest point where provisions could be obtained. It was the intention to have the celebration begin in the morning of July 4, 1853, but the day before a heavy rain came and the streams were swollen to unusual proportions, so that it was with difficulty that those who attended, reached the place to open the ceremonies in the afternoon and many were prevented from coming. About seventy-five persons were present, and had it not been for the high water, it is said that nearly the whole county would have been in attendance. Swings were put up which furnished amusement for the young people; some good singing enjoyed and the balance of the afternoon spent in social talk and having a pleasant visit. Several short speeches were made but no oration. In the evening a fine supper was prepared, which the assemblage greatly enjoyed, and the feast to this day, is often spoken of as being the best the participants ever ate. After this they all returned to their homes, feeling that the day had been well spent.
In 1854 a celebration was held at Vermilya's Grove, near the present site of Tama City. It was very largely attended, there being about 500 persons present. Orations were delivered by Alfred Phillips and Rev. Mr. Petefish. A table 200 feet long was spread and all were fed in royal style. A notable feature was ice water, the ice having been furnished by J. C. Vermilya. No liquor was on the ground and not a drunken man was seen.