In this connection are presented various official matters, which although too brief to place in a chapter separtely, are too important to be entirely ignored. the items have been gathered from records and from interviews with those familiar with such matter.

This is a matter which often attracts attention when treated historically. In vaious lands the marriage rite is solemnized in different ways and by different ceremonies; in all, the acts of the contracting parties must be understood by each, and by the community in which they live as being a mutual agreement to hold the relations toward one another as man and wife. In this State a license has always been required; or in lieu thereof, for a number of yeas, a couple could be married by publishing their intentions through a public assembly, although in Iowa it was never practiced to any great extent.

The first marriage that appears on the record books of the county was solemnized on August 14, 1853, more than thirty years ago. The parties were Miron Blodgett and Sarah Cronk. They were married by John C. Vermilya, County Judge. It was the first marriage solemnized in the county subsequent to its organization.In early days young men and maidens were not married in the grand style which usually characterizes marriages of the present time. They did not wait for riches to come before marriage, as in generally the present custom, but married and lived in simple and comfortable style, and generally lived happily and gained the respect of their neighbors by attending to their own business. There were no "diamond weddings" in those days and the extravagance that often now attends the marriage ceremony was unheard of. The old folks were plain, economical and hospitable people, and the young foks were imbued with the same attributes that characterized their fathers and mothers. They were willing to commence housekeeping in a style corresponding with their means, trusting to the future for larger houses and more expensive furniture.

There are many rich anecdotes of the rustic marriages in early days, but where possible they are treated in connection with the history of the townships in which they occurred. How, when the time came, the blushing and rosy maid, would drop her milk pails, throw off her apron and tying on her sun bonnet, clamber into the lumber box wagon, while "John" in his over-alls and farm boots would take up the whip, and the oxen would move off with the bridal procession to the "Squires" who did the "jining of the knot."

One of these anecdotes, which is not located and therefore cannot properly be placed in the townships, is here given. In an early day a young couple, fresh from the wilds of the frontier, sauntered into one of the pioneer villages, entered a store and confronting the proprietor, told him that "they wanted to get married." "Why, said the merchant, "I-I-can't do any marrying." "Well, if you can't, I'd like to know who can. We're goin' to get married, you bet" said the aspiring young bride-groom with a gushing look at the damsel at his side. "I tell you," said the merchant "you go over to the post-master, I think he can do the job for you." The young couple started off with great joy to find the man who could marry them. They found the postmaster and told them they had come to "git married." This rather dazed the mail man and he told them "he couldn't marry." "But," says the bride-groom," the man over there in that store said you could, and I guess he ought to know." "Well I guess he ought; that's so," said the post-master. "It seems to me that I've seen something about marrying somewhere in the instructions to postmasters. Yes, I guess that's all right." Accordingly the couple were ranged in front of him and in the most approved style he pronounced them "Mr. and Mrs., as provided by the U. S. postal regulations. Go your way, keep your mouths shut and you'll be happy." As they turned to leave, he remarked, "only a dollar a piece, please."

The following is a list of all the marriages that occurred in the county for the first few years after organization, as taken from the record in the office of the Clerk of Court:

Miron Blodgett and Sarah Cronk, married on August 14, 1853, by John C. Vermilya County Judge.
Granville Dennis and Elizabeth Jane Shephard, December 4, 1853, by Rev. S. W. Ingham.
Fred L. Knot and Martha Taylor, October 16, 1853, by Rev. S. W. Ingham.
George Wier and Mary Jane Rush, December 25, 1853, by Judge J. C. Vermilya.
George McChambers and Cordelia A. Lux, October, 16, 1853, by Robert Wilkinson, Justice.

The marriages during the year 1854, were as follows.
Solomon W. Ingham and Cynthia Taylor, January 28, by Andrew Coleman.
James W. Grant and Mary E. Wilkinson, April 13, by Rev. S. Dunton.
Jacob Bruner and Susan Ashby, April 16, by John C. Vermilya, County Judge.
Alpheus Goodpaser and Mary HIll, April 29, by John Connell, J.P.
Logan McChesney and Lucy A. Hancox, March 20, by a. Ladow Licentiate.
Martin S. Slate and Charlotte M. Dingey, July 4, by Rev. Solomon Dunton.
Joseph Riddle and Mary Ann Yoste, September 3, by J. C. Vermilya, County Judge.
George W. Voorhies and Carlista J. Dingee, September 27, by John C. Vermilya, County Judge.
Mark Webb and Catharine Voorhies, September 27, 1854, by John C. Vermilya, Judge
William T. Hollen and Sarah Bruner, September 17, by Benjamin Hammitt, J. P.
Joseph Davis and Rebecca Bruner, September 17, by Benjamin Hammit.
James Gillen and Lydia Grover, October 11, by J. C. Vermilya, County Judge.
George More and Mary Ann Howard, September 10, by N. B. Hyatt, J. P.
Nathaniel E. Horton and Eunice Maryette Horton, October 26, by John Connell, J. P.
Wm. Blodgett and Veteria A. Ladow, August 22, by A. Ladow, Licentiate.
Hugh Hammitt and Nacy Zehrung, December 17, by John C. Vermilya, County Judge.
George Carter and Phebe Ann Cronk, December 25, by John Vermilya, County Judge.
John Zehrung and Mary E. Connell, November 26, by Rev. D. H. Petefish.
Joseph A. Brown and Margaret Hill, December 3, by Rev. D. H. Petefish.

The following is a list of the mariages for the year 1855, without going so particularly into dates:
P. B. Hill and R. Dice by Rev. D. H. Petefish
William Blanchard and Sarah Wilkins, by N. B. Hiatt, J. P.
Jacob Yost and Sarah Ann Sparks, by John C. Vermilya, County Judge.
John Allman and Julia K. Voorhies, by Rev. Wm. Arstrong.
William Leach and Elvina Helm by Tobias R.Shiner.
Harrison Wisehart and Elcy Ann Appelgate by John C. Vermilya.
Angelo A. Myers and Nancy Ross, by JohnC. Vermilya, County Judge.
John Eakins and Sophyna L. Leonard, by John C. Vermilya, County Judge.
Elias H. Price and Sarah Hatfield by Newton B. Hiatt, J.P.
P. L. Baldy and Asenith McChesney, by John C. Vermilya.
Robert Carter and Eliza Ross, by Judge Vermilya.
Truman Prindle and Emily M. Michael, by Judge Vermilya.
Hiram Pickett and Louisa E. Miner, by N. B. Hiatt, J.P.
David Hunnewell and Katharine Myers by Judge Vermilya.
Newton Sanders and Mary McDormand by Geo. S. Williams, J. P.
Elias Hatfield and Ellen S. Rich by Judge Vermilya.
Andrew J. Litell and Ann Hammett by Judge Vermilya.
William Randall and Marintha Riccard by John C. Vermilya, County Judge.
Jacob C. Zehrung and Caroline Gettis by Judge Vermilya.
Albert Keneday and Sibel Harris, by Judge J. C. Vermilya.
Robert Foster and Nancy Hunter, by Rev. W. N. Brown.
Reuben Huffman and Maria Zehrung by Benjamin Hammitt.
Tyler Blake and Nancy J. Dairs, by Benjamin Hammitt, J. P.
Chas. T. Stewart and Mary A. Sadler, by Judge J. C. Vermilya.
Andrew Rorke and Sophia Earhurt, by Isaac Butler, J. P.

The list for 1856 materially increases as follows:
Newton F. Crosley and Rebecca J. Marvin.
Fredrick Frederich and Susanah Mitchell.
George Cook and Sarah House.
John D. Smith and Mary Mann.
Henry Wilson and Absila Boling.
Benjamin Rush and Rebecca Corfman.
Ephriam Jeffries and Catharine Ross.
Jess Hiopkins and Rebecca Myers.
George. Wyvill and Nancy Southard.
Elijah T. Rust and Julia K. Edwards.
James Pickett and Nancy Bennett.
William W. Davis and Eliza Jane Parker.
Cyrus Shelton and Mary Ann Southard.
John H. Carlton and Sarah Stoddard.
John Newton and Martha Arbuthnot.
Adam Zehrung and Dorcas Denison.
Isaiah Hunnewell and Minerva Chase.
Martin Richardson and Elizaebth McPheters.
Ephriam A. Suthard and Elizabeth Jordan.
Alpheus A. Harworth and Elizabeth Fee.
Horace A. Hartshorn and Philida Kyle.
Samuel Long and Eliza Early.
Henry C. Foster and Mary Jane Olthy.
John Bruebaker and Racheal Lamm.
J. S. Edmands and Malinda Shugart.
Francis M. Davis and Maartha Jane Applegate.
Charles Barnes and Harriet Hatfield.
Lorenzo R. Dobson ad Mary Judge.
Jonas P.Wood and Margaret Connell.
Riley Haworth and Melissa J. Fisher.
Mathias Travis and Rachael Davis.
Francis Henry and Sarah Myers.
John Connell and Catharine Graham.
Rezin Overturf and Henrietta Byron.
I. F. Drake and Rachael Overturf.
Elias H. Bownes and Elizabeht Powell.
T. J. Staley and E. J. Graham.
Alonzo Helm and Emily Recksten.
David Gillespie and Francis A. Harman.
J.C. Wood and Elizabeth Kile.
W. M. Dunlap and Fannie A. Johnson.
Andrew Hanna and Sarah J. Bates.
Geo. W. Shiner and Jennetter leffler.
Tiberius Donaldson and Emily A. Fay.
J. Williamson and Mary Richey.
J. L. Graham and A. Wood.
Samuel Walker and Arminda Paxon.
Aandrew McPheters and Rachael Abbott.

The following table shows the number of marriages contracted form 1853 to 1883 inclusive:

1853...............5 1869................140
1854..............25 1870................151
1855..............27 1871................134
1856..............45 1872................125
1857..............37 1873................163
1858..............49 1874................150
1859..............49 1875................181
1860..............50 1876................195
1861..............41 1877................180
1862..............44 1878................176
1863..............50 1879................182
1864..............68 1880................180
1865..............80 1881................224
1866.............124 1882................204
1867.............115 1883 to April 1st....67

A glance at the foregoing figures shows conclusively that the matrimonial market is affected by the state of the times. In 1857 hard times set in and the marriage list decreased in ration. Again in 1874, banks suspended and a season of depression set in and fewer marriages were contracted. The war too caused a falling off in the numbr of marriages annually contracted, but in 1866, when the boys got home the market at once jumped back to and above its normal condition.


No. of Acres, exclusive of Town Property........452,301

Value exclusive of Town Property...............$4,299,624

Total exemption for trees planted.................102,516

Total after deducting exemptions................$4,197,108

Aggregate value of Realty in towns..............551,073

Aggregate value of R. R. property...............380,840

Aggregate value of Personal Property
including horses and cattle......................1,400,573

Total valuation of Tama County...................6,529,594

Toledo City..........120,382
Tama City............202,364
Other small towns.....19,374


Cattle assessed in the county.......31,917........$383,817
Horses assessed in the county.......11,670.........401,880
Mules assessed in the county...........543..........26,086
Sheep assessed in the county.........3,043...........3,376
Swine assess in the county..........37,115..........98,223
Total valuation..............................$910,382

The first building really used for official purposes was the house of John C. Vermilya, County Judge, which stood about one-half mile east of the present site of Tama City. It was a log building and there was not room it it scarcely for a jury to sit. Judge Vermilya soon took proper steps for the erection of a court house, and the contract was let to T. A.Graham for the sum of $1,300. The court house was completed in the latter part of 1854, and was a commodious, two story frame building, which stood on lot 2, in block 5, Toledo. This building served the purpose until 1866, when it was sold.

During the year 1865, the people of Toledo agitated the question of a new court house, as it was realized that a larger one was needed. At a meeting held in Toledo, there was a Court House Association organized, with A. J. Free as secretary; and W. F. Johnston, W. H. Harrison, D. D Applegate, T. A. Graham, N. C. Wieting and G. R. Struble as trustees. The matter was ssettled and bids for the erection advertised for, upon plans and specifications submitted. P. B. McCullough, of Toledo, was the successful bidder, and he began the construction of the building. He failed to complete it, and H. B. Belden agreed to finish it under the contract. The cost of the building was a trifle over $22,000, of which all but about $5,000 was paid by the association, and it was donated to the county. The building occupies a fine site, standing near the center of Toledo, in the Public Park, and presents an elegant and imposing appearance. the grounds have been beautified by shade trees, which were planted years ago. The basement is of stone, the building is of brick and is roofed with corrugated iron. A large belfry surmounts the building. The first floor is divided into the county offices, the court room and office of the county superintendent occupy the upper story.

The county jail stands just northeast of the court house, and is a fine brick structure 30 X 34 feet, two stories in heighth. It was erected in 1869, and was first occupied in 1870. The upper story contains six pleasant rooms and is occupied by the jailor or sheriff and family. The lower story, or jail proper, contains a large wrought iron cage, 22 X 25 feet, with sleeping apartments, for the close confinement of prisoners. The outer door leading into the hall is also wrought iron, and the inner one is a grated door. The entire building is covered with a wrought iron roof.

At the general election in 1875, the proposition of purchasing a poor farm and the reection of necessary buildings, was submitted to the voters of Tama county. It carried by a large majority, and the Board of Supervisors purchased of A. J. Wheaton, a tract of one hundred and fifty acres in section two, township 83, range 15, for $6,750. The contract for remodeling and enlarging the building was awarded to the Tama Hydraulic and Builders' Association, for $4,084.65, while Kent and Conklin were the architects.

The house is on a high elevation, a dry and healthy location; it has been rebuilt and greatly enlarged, and various changes instituted. As the building appears from the road it is more suggestive of an Eastern suburban hotel, or something of that kind than a charitable institution. Its extreme length from north to south is 84 feet, its width varies, being, we believe, 24 feet and 34 feet. It is divided up into the rooms, kitchen, dining room, halls and bed rooms. It is so arranged tat there are three different stair-cases leading to the second story, so that in case of fire the upper story could be easily emptied of its occupants and contents, no matter in what locality the fire might be. The furniture is plain and substantial, though neat. Near the kitchen is an excellent well and a large cistern in which a force pump has been placed for proteciton against conflagration. The farm is well stocked with implements, and everything seems to be in good, healthy condition. The place is under the charge of Mr. Abel Child, who with the assistance of his amiable wife, seem to be the right people in the right places. It requires a peculiar disposition and manner to make a success of such an instituion, and Mr. and Mrs. Child seem to be possessed of that peculiarity.

There is a certain discipline required, which, while it is kind and gentle, must, at the same time, be strict enough to easily quell any refractory or perverse spirit which will at times show itself even under the most generous and favorable circumstance.

Mr. Child keeps the farm in business like manner, and each month makes out duplicate reports, one copy of which is filed intheAuditor's office, while the other is preserved for reference, either for himself or any one that many be visiting.

ABEL CHILDS, Superintendent of the County Poor Farm, was born in Broome county, N. Y., September 4, 1834. His parents, Josiah and Betsey (Aplington) Childs, died when he was a mere child, and he was reared by his grandfather Aplington, in Broome county, where he grew to manhood. At the age of twenty-one he left New York and removed to Ogle county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming. In 1862, he was married to Miss Margaret Lawson, a daugher of John Lawson, a native of Scotland. She was born in Paisley, Scotland. Her father was engaged largely in the dyeing business, and at the time of the World's Fair, he took the first premium on Paisley shawls. Mr. and Mrs. Childs are the parents of five children: Mary, Fleeda, Lizzie, Fred. and Roscoe. In the spring of 1856 Mr. Childs came to Tama county, and located in Carroll township, remaining until 1876, when he received the appointment to his present position. In politics he is a Republican, and has held several local offices of trust in the gift of the people.

In the Fifteenth General Assembly which convened at Des Moines, in January, 1874, a bill was introduced in the Lower House to cut off the northwest corner townships of Tama county, and annex them to Grundy county. These townships were Lincoln and Grant. the following extract from the House Journal relates to the matter:
"Tracy called up H. F. 191, to provide for a submission to the voters of Tama and Grundy counties the proposition to detach township 86, north range 15 and 16 west, from Tama county and attach the same to Grundy county, and moved that the rules be suspended, bill be considered engrossed and read a third time now, and advocated the bill.

"Marlin, of Tama, asked for delay, in order to receive an expression from the people of the townships names. He believed it a plan to make Grundy county square. Thought the people of Tama knew notheing of the matter. He had not heard of it himself until this bill ws introduced."

After some discussion the bill was laid over. It met with unqualified disapproval in Tama county, it being a scheme to make Grunday county square by disfiguring Tama, and the people in the townships affected, soon manifested their desire to remain as they were. Remonstrances were circulated and extensively signed, which defeated the bill.

Teh population of Tama county is made up of foreigners adn Americans in about the same ratio as 1 to 6. They are all a hard working, industrious class, as is abundantly testified by the fact that the county is to-day recognized as among the leading counties of Iowa. The time of a great majority of the citizens is devoted to agricultural pursuits, yet a healthful proportion find employment in manufacturing and other industrial enterprises, and mercantile pursuits.

In the fall of 1849, the population of Tama county did not exceed 20. In the spring of 1849, there was not a white man within the boundaries of the present coutny. To show how rapidly the population increase: In 1852 it was 262; in 1854, 1,163; in 1856, 3,520; in 1859, 5,346; in 1860, 5,285; in 1863, 7,027; in 1865, 7,882; in 1867, 11,165; in 1869, 14,243; in 1870, 16,131; in 1873, 16,343; in 1875, 18,771; in 1880, 21,585. At present there are only 23 counties in the State that exceed it in population; and there are 77 that fall below it.

The earliest entry which affected Tama county land was made while the territory now comprising Tama county formed a part of Benton county, as was first entered upon the books of that county, and when Tama was organized was transcribed into Tama county books. It bears the date of January 5, 1849, and is an indenture transferring the southwest quarter of secton 25, township 83, range 16, now Indian Village township, from Isaac W. Tibbetts of Tippacanoe county, Indiana, to Samuel Opp, of Montgomery county, Indiana, for the sum of $400.

The first deed entry upon the books which were opened for Tama county after its organization bears the date of July , 1859. It is a conveyance of 160 acres of land in township 83, range 15, from Jacob S. Staley, of Johnson county, to William Blodgett, for the sum of $200. The witness to the execution of the instrument was Edward Connelly.

The second deed entry is dated August 25, 1853, and conveys a piece of land from Le Grand Byinton to Noah Myers.

The first real estate mortgage entered upon the Tama county records, was made on June 19, 1856. In this instrument Robert Crawford mortgages to Samuel Strouse, for the sum of $258, several piecesof land lying in Tama county. The mortgage was witnessed by T. Walter Jackson, and recorded by T. J. Staley, County Recorder and his deputy, L. B. Nelson.

Tama Co. Home Page Table of Contents Biography List Portrait List Certificates Chapter VII