For a few years prior to the organization of Tama county, the territory now comprising it was attached to Benton for civil and judicial purposes. On the 10th of March, 1853, the voters of Tama county presented a petition to the County Judge of Benton asking for a separate organization. This was granted and the county effected a temporary organization by the election of the following named officers: Tallman Chase, County Judge; David D. Appelgate, Clerk of Courts; Norman L. Osborn, Sheriff; John Huston, Prosecuting Attorney; Wesley A. Daniels, County Surveyor; David F. Bruner and Anthony Wilkinson received an equal number of votes for School Fund commissioner, but Noah Myers received the appointment. This election was held on the first Monday of May 1853, and as the organization was merely temporary, many of the officers did not qualify.
The next and first regular election was held on the first Monday in August, 1853, and the following officers were elected: County Judge, John C. Vermilya; Treasurer and Recorder, John Ross; Coroner, Franklin Davis; Surveyor, W. A. Daniel; Sheriff, Norman L. Osborn. This set the governmental wheels of the county in motion, and their busy hum has since continued without interruption. The details of matters pertaining to organization, elections and county officers, will be found elsewhere in this volume.
In the early days the mode of county government differed very much from that of the present day. The executive department was vested in what was termed a "County Court," which exercised the same jurisdiction and had the same powers which are now held by the County Board of Supervisors, and in addition to this had jurisdici\tion in all cases of a civil nature which now come before the Circuit Court, together with probate and marriage license matters. The court consisted of the County Judge, Sheriff and a Clerk. The former had all the aughority and the two latter, when they acted at all, were assistants. Thus the office of County Judge was one of much importance.
ACTS OF THE COUNTY COURT
On the organization of Tama county it comprised three townships - Howard, Indian Village and Buckingham. Each of these townships was organized by order of the County Judge of Benton county.
The qualified electors of Howard township met at the house of Rezin A. Redman, and organized the township, the boundary lines of which were as follows: Beginning at the southwest corner of township 82, north of range 15 west, thence to the northwest corner of township 84, north of range 15 west, thence east to the north east corner of township 84, north of range 13 west, thence south to the southeast corner of township 82, north of range 13 west, thence to the place of beginning.
Indian Village township was organized at the house of Eli W. Daily. Its boundary lines wee as follows, as described in the records of the County Court: "Containing the west tier of Congressional townships in said county, which is township 82, north of range 16 west, and township 83, north of range 16 west, township 84, north of range 16 west, and township 85, north of range 16 west and township 86, north of range 16 west."
The qualified electors of Buckingham township met at the house of N. L. Osborn, and organized the township, which was bounded as follows:- "Beginning at the southwest corner of township 85, north of range 15 west, thence north to the northwest corner of township 86, north of range 15 west, thence east to the southeast corner of said county, thence south along said county line to the southeast corner of township 85, north of range 13 west, thence west to the place of beginning."
The first session of county court was held at the house of John Huston, in Indian Village township in -----1853. Tallman Chase who had been elected county judge, had failed to qualify, and this term was presided over by the prosecuting attorney, John Huston.
The first term of the county court, presided over by Judge
Vermilya, was held at the house of the Judge in October, 1853.
At this time the officers of the county mad settlement with the
county judge. The record is as follows:
Fees received by County Judge $2.10
Fees received by Clerk $3.35
Fees received by Recorder and Treasurer__________
Due County Judge for salary $10.40
Due Clerk for five month's salary $17.40
Due Recorder and Treasurer for five months salary $12.50
Warrants NO. 1, 2, 3 and 4 were issued in favor of David Bruner for services rendered in assessing Howard township. The amount issued was for $19.50.
The third record made by the County Judge was the report of the commissioners to locate the county seat, of which mention is made elsewhere in this work.
At the April term, 1854, the county officers again made
settlement, the record of which is as follows:
Fees received by the County Judge for last quarter $5.15
Fees received by Clerk for last quarter $2.60
Fees received by Recorder and Treasurer for last quarter $37.00
Balance Clerk for last quarter $9.00
At this term a warrant was issued to the Sheriff for the organization of the following named townships.
Carlton township to contain all of Indian Village township that lies north of the Iowa river, its first election to be held at the house of William Murtz on the first Monday in April, 1854.
Richland township to contain all of Howard township that lies south of the Iowa River, the first election to be held at the house of Aluson P. Rich on the first Monday in April, 1854.
Salt Creek township to contain all of Howard township that lies east of the west line of range 15 west and north of the Iowa river, the first election to be held at the house of Levi Marshes, on the first Monday in April 1854.
At the August term, 1854, settlement was made by the county
officers, showing the following amounts:
Fees received by county Judge for last quarter $8.85
Fees received by Clerk for last quarter $3.20
Fees received by Treasurer and Recorder for last quarter $37.90
Salary due county Judge $16.58
Contingent expenses of county Judges allowed by Prosecuting attorney $75.00
Clerk's salary $16.58
Treasurer and Recorder's salary $16.58
Prosecuting Attorney $9.00
On the 5th day of February, 1856, the county Court met and received the petition of a number of the citizens of Buckingham township, for its division and the creation of a new township. The prayer of the petitioners was granted and a township was organized comprising Congressional township 86, north of range 13 west of the 5th principal meridian, to be known as Geneseo township.
At the same term the townships of Columbia, Otter creek, and Toledo were formed. The township of Columbia was formed from the township of Richland and was made to comprise Congressional township 82, north of range 15, and that portion of township 83 range 15, that lies on the south side of the Iowa river. Otter Creek township was formed from Howard township and was made to comprise all of Congressional township 83, north of range 14, and that portion of township 82, range 14, that lies on the north side of the Iowa river. Toledo township was also formed form Howard and made to comprise that part of Congressional township 83, range 15, lying north of the Iowa river. Howard township, thus divided, as described upon the record "shall embrace only the congressional townships 84, range 15, and township 84, range 14, and nor more, and be hereafter bounded by the said lines, bounding said Congressional township and no more and no less.
The election for Howard township was ordered to be held at the house of Benjamin Hammit; in Otter Creek township at the house of A. Tompkins; in Geneseo at the house of Nathaniel Spencer; in Columbia at the house of Joshua Burley.
On the second of October, 1854, by order of the County, a proposition was submitted to the people "For or Against the Distraining of Sheep and Swine from running at large in the county from and after April 1st, 1855." The vote was canvassed by John C. Vermilya, County Judge, Zachariah T. Shugart and Benjamin Hammit, and it was decided that "ninety votes were cast for Distraining, and forty-nine votes cast against Distraining." Therefore it is presumed they were "Distrained."
The first case of pauperism in Tama County was that of Charles Potter's family. It seems that Potter had deserted his family, leaving them destitute. The County Court ordered that the property he had left be used for the sustenance of the deserted family. This record bears the date of March 5, 1856, at which time Alfred Phillips is acting in the capacity of ex-office County Judge.
At a term of County Court held upon the 10th day of March, 1856, the township of Salt Creek was divided and that of York was formed, as embracing township 84, range 13, and township 83, range 13. Notice was given to James R. Graham to call the first election at his house on the first Monday in April, 1856, and organize the new township. A petition was presented to the Judge on the 22nd of March, 1856, to again consolidate the townships, but he refused to comply with the request.
Judge Vermilya, at a session held on the first day of May, 1856, appointed John H. Myers as agent of the county for one year to sell liquors for medicinal, mechanical and sacramental purposes. The record adds "subject to revocation for cause or at my pleasure; annual salary of agent shall be _________dollars."
At the same term the boundaries of the townships of Salt Creek and York, were slightly changed.
At the July term, in 1856, a settlement was made with the
county officials and it appears from the records that, for the
quarter ending July 7th, they had received salaries as follows:
John C. Vermilya, County Judge $4.50
D. D. Applegate, Clerk of Courts $59.35
G. G. Staley, Treasurer and Recorder $166.25
Salarly (typo) due Judge over what had been received $49.50
Balance due county from Clerk $ 9.35
Balance due county from Staley $116.25
Due Prosecuting Attorney for salary $20.00
Due Sheriff for salary $5.00
Then followed receipts from the various officers.
On the 9th of August, 1856, it appeared to the Judge that the removal of the agent for selling intoxication liquors in the Village of Toledo, would be a benefit to the citizens, and he therefore revoked the license he had given to John H. Myers, and appointed Ira J. Wilkins, of Toledo township, in his stead.
The labors of the year 1857 were opened by the county court in session on the fifth of January, at which the usual settlement with the county officers was made.
At the March term in 1857, the township of Crystal was formed by the division of Buckingham; and Carroll was formed by the division of Howard. A warrant was issued to J. S. Bishop to organize Crystal, and one to Nathan Fisher to organize Carroll.
The Judge fixed the bonds of various officers as follows: County Treasurer, $$10, 000; Sheriff, $10,000; Justices of the Peace, $1,000; Constables, $1,000.
During September of this year the name of John C. Vermilya drops from sight, Leander Clark taking his place, signing the records as county Judge.
In December 1857, the county Judge ordered that the School Fund Commissioner file a bond in addition to what had been filed in the amount of $17,000, the former amount not being deemed sufficient. L. S. Frederick was Commissioner at this time.
On the 12th of February 1858, James Thorington, of Davenport was appointed special agent to select the swamp lands belonging to this county.
About the same time, the entry being dated March 1st, the township of Buckingham was divided and Perry township was set off and ordered organized the warrant for calling the first election being issued to J. W. Southwick. The meeting was duly held on the first Monday in April 1858, at the store occupied by Geo. W. Free, Jr., in the village of West Union, and an organization was permanently effected.
The boundaries of the townships of Toledo, Columbia, Richland and Otter Creek were also slightly changed. Carlton was divided and Spring Creek township created. A warrant was issued to G. M. Finch commanding him to call the first election of the new township at the house of William B. King.
At the session of the county Court on March 3, 1859, the county Judge, ordered that the following proposition be submitted to the legal voters of Tama county, viz: "Shall the county Judge in behalf of said county issue county bonds to the amount of $40,000 to draw interest at the rate of six per cent per annum, as a donation to the Iowa State Agricultural College and Model Farm, and the Board of Equalization of Tama county be authorized to levy upon taxable property of said county two and one-half mills upon the dollar of the valuation thereof, annually until an amount sufficient to liquidate said bonds and interest shall be raised; the first levy to be made at the meeting of said board for the levy of ordinary taxes in the year 1859, all to be done expressly on the condition that the said "Iowa State Agricultural College and Model Farm" shall be located in Tama county."
The election was duly held and resulted in there being 444 votes in favor of the proposition and 195 against it. The offer, however, was not liberal enough and Story county secured the college.
The following entry appears upon the record under the date if May 19th 1859, and explains itself.
"To the Hon. Leander Clark, County Judge of Tama county: This is to certify that at a meeting of the Presidents of the several township school districts in Tama county, the County Superintendents were allowed the sum of $100 by the said board of Presidents for the year ending April 5th, 1859.
Signed, W. C. Salsbury, Chairman, T. A. Graham, Sec'y.
At the July term of 1859 the matter of settlement with the
various county officials again came up, and the following entry
was made as to their salaries for the quarter ending July 4th,
County Judge and Received $ 2.35
County Clerk and Received $128.45
County Treasurer and Recorder R'c'd $123.90
Salary due Judge above what he had received $97.65
Salary due Sheriff $10.00
Due County from Clerk $28.45
Due County form Treas. and Recorder $23.90
Then follows the receipts from the officers.
It will be noticed that often a long time elapses between the date of the extracts given. The balance of the time was spent in routine work, such as the issuance of marriage licenses, attending to petitions, and like matters of no especial interest.
In the winter of 1859-60, the General Assembly passed an act which was duly signed by the Governor changing the mode of government in the various counties in the State, and creating the county Board of Supervisors. This body took charge of nearly all of the business formerly attended to by the Judge of the County Court.
The office of County Judge, however, was continued until 1869, that officer having only jurisdiction in probate matters and the issuance of marriage licenses. Nothing of note transpired and a list of the various gentlemen who held the office of County Judge, will be found in connection with the chapter upon National, State and County Representation, where sketches of each will also appear.
In the new system - the Board of Supervisors - consisted of one member from each township.
ACTS OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS.
Pursuant to law, the first meeting of the Board of Supervisors was held on the 7th day of January, 1861, at the court house in Toledo. It was organized by appointing Jonathan Peterson, temporary chairman. The various townships were represented by the following gentlemen - their respective townships and terms being marked opposite their names:
Anthony Bricker, 1 year…Indian Village
Wesley A. Daniel, 1 year…Buckingham
Wm. Gallagher, Jr., 1 year…Howard
B. A. Hall, 2 years…Toledo
Robison, Johnston, 2 years…Highland
Lucius Kibbe, 2 years …Carroll
C. Marston, 1 year…Spring Creek
G. G. Mason, 1 year…Oneida
M. Mitchell, 1 year…Otter Creek
Jonathan Peterson, 1 year…Carlton
S. C. Rogers, 2 years…Crystal
P. L. Sherman, 1 year…Geneseo
J. W. Southwich, 1 year…Perry
T. S. Talmage, 1 year…Clark
Isaac Toland, 2 years…Columbia
James A. Willy, 2 years..Salt Creek
L. B. Dresser, 2 years…York
The board proceeded to the election of a permanent chairman which resulted in the choice of P. L. Sherman, he receiving ten votes and Jonathan Peterson seven. Committees were appointed to draft rules for the government of the body and order of business.
At the same session the board appropriated the sum of $104, for the support of the poor persons and paupers already on the county for the six months ending July 1st, 1861.
On the 11th of January, 1861, the committed appointed to investigate the school fund matter reported as follows:
"We, your committee appointed to examine into the affairs of
the School Fund beg leave to make the following report: Having
examined the books and papers connected with the said School
Fund we find the reports of the officers correct. We also
ascertain that there are three thousand and two hundred acres of
land belonging to the said fund, the sales of which have been
declared fraudulent. We also ascertain that there are 960 acres
of these lands on which the payments have been made and patents
issued. We therefore recommend that the sales of these lands on
which the patents have been issued, be considered legal, and
that here after taxes be levied on the same." A. Bricker,
G. G. Mason,
T. S. Talmage.
On the 5th of June, 1861, Spring Creek township was divided, and a new civil township under the name of Lincoln, was created. A warrant was issued to Joseph Prescott, commanding him to call the first election at his house.
During this term Judge Leander Clark presented his resignation as County Judge, and it being referred to a committee, was reported on as follows:
"Whereas, Leander Clark, our county judge, has handed in his resignation, to take effect as soon as his successor shall be appointed and qualify, therefore,
Resolved, That we believe it due to Leander Clark to acknowledge our obligations, and that of our constituents, for the faithful and impartial manner in which he has performed his duties.
Resolved, That while we believe it would be for the interest of the county that the Judge should continue in service; at the same time, in accordance with his desire, we reluctantly grant his request;
Resolved, That considering the legal ability, business tact
and stability of many of our citizens, we trust we shall be
able to fill the vacancy thus occasioned by one who will not
disappoint the expectations of our constituents.
B. A. Hall,
The following day John Allen was appointed to fill the vacancy.
The matter of appropriating money for the purchase of a poor farm came up at this meeting, but was defeated.
The excitement of the war began over-spreading the country about this time, and Tama county was not long in officially taking the right position.
Under the date of June 8, 1861, the Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the following resolution, which was presented by W. A. Daniels:
"Whereas, The time has come when every patriot should show his devotion to the Government in a way that cannot be misunderstood, and as it is the duty of every one to aid in subduing rebellion and wiping traitors from the face of this fair land; " Therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Board of Supervisors of Tama county pledge themselves and the county for the support of the families of residents of the county who may volunteer and be called into service by the government as long as they are detained in such service; also, all other appropriations that may be required of us to aid in maintaining the government and enforcing the laws."
On the 25th of July, 1861, D. D. Appelgate, clerk of courts, issued the following notice and call for a special meeting of the board of supervisors, viz:
"Whereas, The undersigned Clerk of the District Court of Tama County, Iowa, has been requested in writing by a majority of the members of said board to call a special meeting for the object hereinafter set forth:
Notice is hereby given that there will be a special meeting of the Board at the Court House in Toledo Iowa, said county and State, on Monday, August 5, A. D., 1861, at 12 o'clock M., of said day, for the purpose of taking into consideration the matter of making an appropriation for the organization of a Military Company from Tama County for the war, and the support of the families of Volunteers, and other matters connected therewith."
Accordingly at the appointed time the Board convened with all the members present. On motion Messrs. Forker and T. Walter Jackson were invited to address the Board, the latter complying. On motion of Mr. Mason, Daniels, Gallagher and Hall were appointed a committee of three, to report the amount necessary to equip the " Tama county Rifles," as recommended in the Governor's circular. Mason, Peterson and Rogers were appointed a committee of three, to report a plan for the support of families of volunteers.
The committee last named made a report which was adopted by the Board as follows:
"Resolved, That for the purpose of supporting the families of volunteers during their service from the time of enlistment until they are discharged, that there be, and hereby is, appropriated out of the County Treasury the sum of five dollars per month for the wife and two dollars per month for each child under twelve years of age, of each volunteer.
"Resolved, That when a father or mother is dependent on a volunteer for support, they shall receive five dollars per month each, and also when a brother or sister under twelve years of age are dependent, they shall receive two dollars per month each, during his time of service.
"Resolved, That all volunteers who shall be entitled to the above appropriations shall file with the County Clerk, their affidavit as to the number of their family and age of their children.
"Resolved, That said appropriations be paid monthly upon orders of the clerk of the board of supervisors, who shall keep articles of clothing as recommended in the Governor's circular; making an aggregate of six hundred and thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents. Also that the sum of one hundred and twelve dollars and fifty cents be appropriated and placed in the hands of the clerk of this Board, for the purpose of clothing a further number of men as above, until the number of men reaches one hundred and one, the amount drawn for each man to be seven dollars and fifty cents, and we would further recommend that an agent be appointed to go to Chicago and make the purchases." It was then
Resolved That B. A. Hall, act as agent to go to Chicago. Thus the company was duly organized and equipped.
John Connell was also special agent for a time to purchase clothing and supplies for volunteers. The following entry relative to his agency is rather amusing:
"A statement was also received form Mr. Connell in regard to his expenses in going to Chicago to buy the clothing, showing that he had expended thirty-one dollars and forty cents, and had received form the county the sum of thirty dollars. On motion the account was considered square." Then on motion Mr. Connell was tendered a vote of thanks for the manner in which he discharged his duties.
On the third of September, 1861, the Board passed the following resolutions:
First-"That we do not consider it expedient to make a specific appropriation for the support of families of volunteers who may hereafter enlist in the service of the State of government during the present war, from this county."
Second-"Resolved that the appropriations now made for the support of the families of the volunteers of Tama county be extended during the war to the families of those volunteers who now receive the benefit of said appropriation, who may be killed or die while in the service of the United States."
The first resolution was presented by G. G. Mason and the latter by J. A. Willey.
Just before the Board adjourned G. G. Mason, presented the following which was adopted:
"Resolved, that we will grant aid to the families of volunteers who may hereafter enlist for the war from this county as far as we may judge to be for the interest of all parties concerned."
S. C. Rogers followed by presenting the following concerning the soldiers, which was adopted:
"Resolved, that we are highly gratified with the comfortable quarters furnished for the military company from this county, and pleased that the soldiers acquiesce in the strict discipline enjoined upon them, and sincerely hope that all will be faithful in every respect to their superiors and their country.
At the October session the Board passed additional resolutions relative to furnishing aid to the families of volunteers. This closed the labors of the Board for the year 1861.
The second annual meeting of the Board of Supervisors
convened at the court house in Toledo on the 6th day of
January 1862, as required by law. The following newly elected
members qualified and took their seats:
John A. Tenny…Indian Village
W. B. King…Spring Creek
G. G. Mason…Oneida
N. Lewis…Otter Creek
T. F. Clarke…Geneseo
T. S. Talmage…Clark
G. W. Morehouse…Lincoln
The Board then proceeded to organize by the election of B. A. Hall as chairman for the ensuing year, and by the appointment of the various committees.
At this session a committee appointed to examine the county property, reported that: "having viewed the county buildings would say that although they are not what we should like to see in our county, still we find them in a passable condition; we think there is a little, and but little repairing required at the present time."
On the same day the following resolution was adopted by the Board: "Whereas, the county of Tama in response to the call of the Governor furnished the "Tama county Rifles: with a fatigue dress at an expense of upwards of $800 or thereabouts, Therefore, Resolved that the clerk of this Board be instructed to present to the legislature a bill of particulars of clothing furnished and expenses incurred by the county and that our Senator, Hon. Joseph Dysart, and our Representative, Hon. Leander Clark, be requested to use all proper efforts to have the same promptly adjusted."
It will be remembered that August 5, 1861, the Board passed a resolution, appropriating $5.00 per month for the wife and $2.00 per month for each child of volunteers. At this session, January 1862, it was reported that according to the provisions of the act named, there had been paid $1047, up to December 12, 1861. This was for the families of members of the "Tama county Rifles."
Another relief appropriation was resolved by the Board October 16, 1861, for the support of the families of the company raised by William H. Stivers, known as Company G. of 14th, Iowa Regiment, the wife to receive $4.00 per month and the children $1.00; no family to receive more than $7.00 per month.
The committee appointed for the purpose of summing up, reported. "We find the whole amount expended for clothing, sustenance and transportation of said company to Marengo (Rifles), $1,052.14.
We have received form the U. s. disbursing officer …$ 205.00 We further expect the State will refund about…$ 847.94
There has been expended for the support of the families of
For the first company up to December 12th 1861…$ 1,047.00 For the second company… 94.00
This will amount in one year to …3,984.00
County Order No. 1 was issued at this session to John Allen, for the sum of… 7.45
No. 2 and No. 3 to D. D. Applegate.
At the opening of the June session in 1862, the Chairman announced the vacancy in the office of Supervisor from Carlton township occasioned by the death of Jonathan Peterson, and presented the credentials of James Roakes, who had been treasury, appointed. Mr. Roaks appeared, qualified and took his seat as a member.
On the fourth of June the Board declared the office of county Judge vacant, occasioned by the removal of John Allen from the county, and appointed T. F. Bradford, to fill the vacancy.
On the following day Mr. Forker offered the following
resolution which was adopted:
"Resolved, That the families of commissioned officers of the "Tama county Rifle company" shall not be allowed to receive any more of the appropriation made August 5th, 1861, by this board from the county Treasury from June 1st, 1862, unless said families become in neady circumstances."
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