Jefferson County Online
A part of the IAGenWeb and USGenWeb Projects
Old Settlers

The following is a chapter from "The History of Jefferson County, Iowa", Pages 433-434, published by the Western Historical Company of Chicago in 1879.



On the 23d of February, 1858, a meeting of those who resided, or were doing a business, in Fairfield, or were citizens of the county on the 1st of January, 1846, was held in Fairfield, for the purpose of forming an old settlers' association. The exercises were opened with an address by Charles Negus, Esq., on the first settlement of the town and county. After the address, a resolution was adopted requesting each one present who came to the county prior to January 1, 1846, to register his name and, as near as possible, the exact date of his settlement. Under the resolution, the following-named "pioneers" appended their names:

J. A. Gallaher, February 22, 1849; B. B. Tuttle, November, 1840; Charles Negus, March, 1841; R. H. Van Dorn, May, 1841; D. Mendenhall, May, 1842; George Craine, October 5, 1842; J. A. Cunningham, August, 1842; J. M. Slagle, November 10, 1842; Thomas D. Evans, November 13, 1842; Anson Ford, January 11, 1843; C. W. Slagle, April 23, 1843; George Acheson, April 23, 1843; J. E. Cummings, November 13, 1843; T. W. Titus, November 20, 1843; W. W. Junkin, April 20, 1844; George Stever, May 6, 1844; A. H. Brown, July 5, 1844; Jesse Byrkit, October 28, 1844; S. H. Bradley, November 4, 1844; William Myers, May 1, 1845; E. C. Hampson, May 15, 1845.

In response to a toast, "The Historian of Fairfield," Mr. Negus said that when he came here, seventeen years ago, there were only 110 inhabitants in the place (Fairfield), and then proceded to give the names of all the men who were here, with a short history of each one. He said that of the number who lived in town when he first came here, there was not one present on this occasion.

The meeting, after styling itself the Old Settlers' Club, adjourned to meet February 22, 1859.

At the date of the second meeting of the Old Settlers' Club, February 22, 1859, Wells' Hall was occupied by the meetings of the Baptist Church, and the address which was to have been delivered was indefinitely postponed.

The old settlers, to the number of twenty-three, met at the National Hotel, where supper was served. J. M. McClelland, being the oldest settler present, was made President, and W. W. Junkin, Secretary. New names were registered as follows:

J. M. McClelland, February 12, 1838; E. R. Norvell, October 10, 1842; William Long, September, 1842; W. L. McLean, ------, 1843; Mungo Ramsey, ------, 1844; J. D. Jones, March 30, 1845; William Myers, May 1, 1945; W. K. Alexander, May 20, 1845; Bernhard Henn, June 30, 1845; John Fore, ------, 1845.

The meeting was addressed by Judge Negus, who gave short sketches of nearly all the first inhabitants. He gave as a toast, "The Memory of Willis Cheek -- Funnel me again, boys!" Other toasts were responded to, and a good time was had generally.

At this meeting, a committee of seven was appointed, to consist of the seven present who had resided longest in the county, to perfect a plan for the organization of the Old Settlers' Club. These were J. M. McClelland, Charles Negus, R. H. Van Dorn, William Long, J. M. Slagle, James Cunningham, B. B. Tuttle.

A movement was begun to erect a monument over the remains of Thomas Gray, one of the early settlers, beloved by all who knew him.

After these proceedings, the meeting adjourned for one year; but, as no records of subsequent meetings can be found, and there being no Old Settlers' Club in existence now, it is fair to presume that was the last meeting of the kind ever held -- a fact that is to be regretted.

This page was created on 30 November 2014 and is copyrighted. This page and/or its linked data may be copied and used for personal purposes but can not be republished nor used for commercial purposes without the author's written permission.

I am the County Coordinator and the Webmaster, the one who is responsible for the IAGenWeb project for Jefferson County, Iowa. Please contact me if you would like to contribute to this database or if you note any problems with these pages.

Return to the 1879 History of Jefferson County Contents Page

Return to the Jefferson County Main Page