Tama County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Star – Clipper Supplement
Traer, Iowa, April 1, 1887
History of North Tama
By Daniel Connell

Chapter XXIX

Being so far from market the subject of building a railroad was always in order for discussion among the inhabitants, and projects for a road that was planed from east to west at any time was considered as to the probabilities of reaching us, and when the prospects were good the location of a depot overshadowed the question of the road itself quite frequently. A drawback to voting a taxing in aid of a railroad was the irresponsibility of the construction companies, it being impossible to tell if a road would be built after aid was granted, and communities did not like to tie up their aid as was sometimes done. Tama county spent much money on a north and south road that was never built. Projectors of the roads-veritable swindlers-peddled their projects throughout the country, inducing people to lend aid by subscriptions and tax. This settlement will not soon forget the ubiquitous Barnum who wheedled and cajoled notes and votes that did not finish a mile of road. We have spoken of roads proposed, surveyed and one finally built. At one time there were stakes driven for three different railroads between Yankee Grove and Buckingham, each with its plausible agents, and in the case of these three projects men of character, ability and means and backed by capital. We recall Dr. Ely, Col. Benton, Banker Stevens, of Marion, and Col. Isaac Preston.

In 1869 Perry voted on a proposition to levy a tax for a road that was being worked up by Dr. Ely and Col. Benton. The tax was defeated. In 1870 a five per cent tax was asked by Barnum from Buckingham and Perry in aid of his project from Grinnell to Cedar Falls. The tax was carried in Perry and defeated in Buckingham. There was not a dollar at the bottom of the project, the design being to spend the money raised by local aid as far as it would go, first to pay those, working up, balance to go on grading, which sums could not be sufficient. At a later day, 1873, Perry voted to transfer one-half of this tax, as it had not been earned, to the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern railway company. This in connection with individual subscriptions secured the road to Traer.

In 1872 Buckingham voted a five per cent tax to the B. C. R. & N railway company. This tax was refused, as a condition was to locate the depot on the west side of the creek. The vote on this project rent the township.

A heavy rain that morning raised the creeks to an extant not seen before. The north side of Twelve Mile creek generally opposed the tax, but at first could not cross. A raft was built under the direction of Mr. Ames, on which a crossing was affected about 4 o'clock p.m., just in time. Andrew McIntire walked five miles up the creek to find a place to cross. Voters on the east side of Wolf creek could not cross.

Excitement ran high. The tax carried by two majority. Beside this five per cent tax, Q. D. Hartshorn guaranteed ten acres of land for depot grounds and subscriptions were pledged in addition. The uncertain direction the route was to take beyond us prevented the acceptance of the Buckingham aid.

Chapter XXX

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