Jefferson County Online
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The First Tax-Receipt
and First Financial Exhibit

The following is a chapter from "The History of Jefferson County, Iowa", Pages 402-403, published by the Western Historical Company of Chicago in 1879.



For reasons already stated -- the absence of many of the early records from the proper offices, there is no means of presenting the amount of the first tax-assessment. Unless some one of the few surviving tax-payers and settlers of 1839, have the total amount of the tax-levy for that year in their heads, as also the total appraised value of the taxable property, the facts are completely and effectually lost.

John Huff has carefully preserved the following tax-receipt, which is believed (although not stated as a positive fact), to be the first tax-receipt issued from the Treasurer's office of Jefferson County. If such is the fact, he has the honor of paying the first taxes in Jefferson County. The receipt, as the reader will observe, does not give the day or the month when the taxes were paid:

Received of John Huff, one dollar and forty-eight and one-half cents, being his tax in full for the year A. D. 1839, Jefferson County, I.T.
James L. Scott, Sheriff.

The first financial exhibit was entered of record under date of January 6, 1840, and is in the words and figures following, to wit.:

Dr. To amount of receipts of taxes, fines, etc................. $540 89
"        "   borrowed of proceeds of town lots. ................  112 69 -- $653 58
Cr. by amount paid expenses of courts, officers, elections, etc. (estimated) 653 58

Receipts and Expenditures appertaining to Town Lots, etc.

Dr. To amount of cash received for town lots...........$1,309 08
"      "     notes for lots, due 10th March, 1840......    453 40
"      "        "    "    "       15th May, 1840......... 1,910 51
"      "        "    "    "       10th September, 1840...   919 00
"      "        "    "    "       15th November, 1840...    393 76 -- $4,985 75
Cr. By amount of expenses of locating county seat, build-
                                 ing Court House, etc..... $1,102 90
"    "    "     balance now due for lots..................  3,882 85 -- $4,985 75

A third sale of town lots was ordered to be held on the 20th day of April, and was ordered to be continued from day to day "so long as the Commissioners might deem necessary." No detailed statement of the sale appears of record, hence the writer, as well as the people of Jefferson County, is "left in the dark" as to the number of lots sold or the amount realized.

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