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F. H. Whitney

F. H. Whitney landed in the county, March 15th, 1856, and at that time made a hasty examination of the county and decided to pull up stakes in New York, his native State, and remove hither. He did not succeed in raising the means to enable him to come until November, 1857. On the 7th day of December, 1857, he began the building of a shanty on the n. e. qr. of sec. 13, Tp. 75, range 35, (Union Tp.) boarding at the time with Peter Hedges, Mr. Hedges, George Shannon and Dr. W. S. Newlon being the only settlers in that township at that date. In the latter part of December, 1857, Mr. Whitney and Mr. Newlon put up another log house 14 x 15 feet in size, on the s. w. qr. of sec. 28, in the same township. The winter of 1857-8 being a remarkably pleasant one, with no snow of any consequence or severely cold weather, they found it very pleasant camping out, and sleeping in their wagons in mid-winter, for weeks at a time.

Mr. Whitney in response to our request for information, writes some interesting facts as follows: "The land office opened for entry February 23d, 1858, at Council Bluffs, and I succeeded in entering the eighty acres of land where Whitneyville now stands, together with several other tracts, one of which is now the farm of Thomas Tate in Victoria township. From April, 1857, to July of the same year, myself and two other young men lived in the shanty we had built on the s. w. 28, 75, 35. We were trying to break prairie, but the summer was very wet and the creek (now called Seven Mile) got so high that it completely washed off the sod from seeral acres of our breaking. It was in this stream at Hedge's Grove that Chas. Baldwin was drowned that year on the 5th of July. It was the continued wet weather that caused us to vacate our log cabin on sec. 28, Union township, above referred to, and move up on the high land of what is now called Whitneyville. We moved there on the 30th day of July, 1858, and put up a small board shanty and commenced to break prairie the next day, on the farm now owned by V. C. Whip. The next month (August, 1858) we built the front part of the house in which Mr. Whip now lives, out of all native lumber, the same having been sawed at Johnson's mill in Adair county. At that date the nearest improvement in Cass county north of us, was that of Mr. Morrison, who kept the Stage station in the old log house very near the residence of his son, John C. Morrison. This was at least eleven miles from Whitneyville, on a direct line. And the nearest house or improvement of any kind to the east of Whitneyville then was Wm. Kinney's, in Adair county, at least nine miles. To the west of us four miles, was Hedge's Grove in which Peter Hedges and his son-in-law, George Shannon, lived. These were the only improvements between Whitneyville and Lewis, (a distance of nineteen miles by the road.) To the south of us the only improvement at that date, (August, 1858) was my own (a cabin and forty acres broken near where Thomas Tate now lives in Victoria township.) This improvement and Asa Waldron's on sec. 7, 74, 34, were the only improvements then in all of what is now called Victoria township. In making these improvements at that early day we had many difficulties to contend with. Us early settlers generally had no money, and we had to depend almost wholly on "exchanges." To illustrate: one of my horses that we were breaking prairie with, died; the breaking plow had to stand until I could get another horse, and I had a wagon left, so I started and traveled two days, until I found a man who had a horse he would trade me for my wagon. Our living most of the time was cheap. In fact we felt happy as long as we could get "mush and milk" enough to fill up with. In fact us boys had a cow that supplied us with plenty of milk and as we were improving three different places during the Summer of 1858, we kept this cow tied to the wagon as we traveled from one farm to the other, and with her and our mush kettle and sack of corn meal, dinner or supper was quickly got."

Mr. Whitney is now forty-four years old. It will be seen by this sketch that he has not attained the financial success which he now enjoys without first learning by hard knocks what it is to be poor.

From "History of Cass County, Iowa Together With Brief Mention of Old Settlers," by Lafe Young, Atlantic, Iowa, Telegraph Steam Printing House, 1877, pg. 45-47.

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